And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. Ephesians 4:32 (HCSB)
Our world is broken; everything and everyone in this world is broken. In fact, there are only two kinds of people in the world: those who know they’re broken and those who are broken but don’t know it. God wants us to know that we’re broken.
That’s why our churches should be no-shame zones, places for broken people to come when they hurt.
Colossians 3:12 says, “[A]s God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (NIV). Because we know how much God loves us, we can demonstrate compassion, kindness, humility and patience with others. And that’s exactly what the church has been called to do. It’s the place for the broken, the place for those whose lives don’t work out as they should.
The truth is that the church shouldn’t just “accept” hurting people. We should want hurting people in our midst. We’ve got to realize that every sinner has a future and every saint has a past.
Recovery ministries (like Celebrate Recovery at Saddleback) aren’t a sideline show in the church; they’re at the core of what Jesus calls the church to do and to be. We’ve all got hurts, habits and hang-ups that we need God to transform. God wants to use the church to do that.
That means since you’re the church, He wants to use you.
God wants us to be people of the second chance. But we can’t be second-chance people until we realize how much of a second chance we’ve been given. Too many Christians don’t feel forgiven — so they don’t let anyone else feel forgiven either.
When we realize how much grace God showed to us when He saved us, sharing that kind of grace with others will only be natural. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as God forgave you through Christ.”
Second chances aren’t just for addicts and convicts; second chances are for all of us. No matter how squeaky-clean our lives have looked on the outside, the Bible is clear that we’ve all needed a second chance at some point in our lives.
In fact, it’s when we realize how much God loves us and has forgiven us that we’re able to properly take that love to others. The people who are best able to show God’s love to others are the ones who feel God’s love the most fully.
Saddleback Resources offers a small group Bible study related to these devotionals: The Invisible War-Winning the Battle of Temptation.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times Best Seller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors. © Copyright 2011 Rick Warren.