Giving Second Chances

Leslie and Kelly
Kelly and I in our freshman year, when we both still had a lot of growing up to do! So glad we were able to give each other a second chance and go on to enjoy a lifetime friendship!

We always hear about taking second chances–but how about giving them? We all know that first impressions are often behind firm opinions we make about others.

But what if your first impression is wrong? What if what you heard them say wasn’t really what they said? What if–in a moment of fear or anger–they said something they didn’t mean? What if that air of arrogance and pride is a wall of  protection that has been built by a deeply hurt heart?

But judging on first impressions means two things. First, we make a snap judgement that is often inaccurate and unless that person comes back into our world in a very profound way, we will keep that opinion forever. Second, we lose all opportunity to minister or develop a friendship because we figure they  are “too far gone” or “we won’t have anything in common”.

In my freshman year of college–over 25 years ago now– I ended up with a roommate who was about as different from me as you could get. I was the sheltered, opinionated girl from a Christian background. She was the worldly, new believer from a difficult past. We both made very serious judgements about each other, causing our freshman year to be extremely challenging for both of us. By the time it was over, we weren’t speaking much. In fact, all of our sophomore year was mostly spent avoiding each other. But at the beginning of our junior year, we ran into each other and just started chatting and we realized something– we had both grown up a bit. We had both changed. Ironically, and by the grace of God, we developed a strong, wonderful friendship that continues to this day.

That friendship developed because both of us were willing to give the other a second chance. We had to forgive and we had to believe that people can change.

Do you believe that? Do you believe that people can change? Or do you make a snap judgement that you never re-visit? Think about someone who just irritates you or maybe someone you wrote off a long time ago. Think on why you made that decision about them. Have you thought about them lately? Have you considered that they might have changed? Or that maybe…possibly…your original judgement may have been wrong??

Sure, some people never change. And some people make it difficult to give them a second chance. But– if we truly believe that God is God–then we have to believe that God can change people. We should never, ever write someone off as hopeless. And we should never, ever make a permanent decision about someone based on a first impression. But we all do it.

Do yourself a big favor–strike up a conversation with someone you decided you don’t care for–or maybe even downright dislike. You may be surprised. You may realize that you can get along with each other, after all. At the very least, you may gain insight into why that person behaves in the way they do. You may walk away saying you never want to do that again but at least you tried. At least you looked past that one bad impression to see the real person.



Life Lessons I Learned from a Business Conference


Yesterday I was at a Business Conference.  I learned a lot about the topic I was there to learn.  I also learned a few other things.  Like:

1.  Laughing and giggling and generally acting like an 8 year old while a speaker is speaking is not only rude, but quite distracting. Seriously, the ladies behind me in one session never stopped talking and giggling. I was made aware afresh of how rude that is. I will try to remember that when I am tempted to do that. It is not nice for the speaker or for those around you.

2. In one session, the topic of references for terminated employees came up. The advice given was that, as representatives of our companies, it is in the best interest of our companies not to say anything negative about a former employee. In essence, give no information. And yet, the session speaker went on to tell of a case where a man with a very bad record in his past jobs, went on to get a job at a nursing home and murder several of the patients there. The former employers had never let that nursing home know this man’s true history. Even after telling that story, she still stuck to her guns and said you shouldn’t say anything because of a potential slander lawsuit.  One guy raised his hand and challenged her on that.  He said that if he were in the other employer’s shoes, he would want to know. All kinds of discussion got going–most of it saying we need to protect our companies, etc. I wanted to raise my hand and quote Jesus’s  words “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  And I might have, too, if she didn’t stop the conversation before it got too out of hand. But, in that conversation, I learned that the world’s thought on this is that you worry about your own interests and not about the interests of others.  I guess my question would be: Can a negative reference really be labeled as “slander” if you have everything fully documented, anyway?  The whole discussion made me quite sad. But it tells me where the world really is on even the most basic of Christian principles.

3. It was a dreary day and I was tired. I was sure I would struggle with falling asleep during the sessions. Thankfully, all but one were extremely interesting and informative.  One thing I found disappointing, though, was the occasional use of expletives while speaking. Another tell tale sign of where our country is morally, in my opinion. 25 years ago, no one would have ever used bad language while speaking to a large group of business professionals. No one. Yes, that language was used–in bars, on the streets, and by school students who thought they were cool. But never at a professional event by a speaker. I think it says a little about the class of this nation. The country we knew is disappearing–quite rapidly. I was sad about that, too (even though I was pretty much aware of this one).

4. I learned about GOMOs yesterday, which stands for “Get Out of My Office” people. The same thing can be applied in life. We all have people who suck the energy out of us. The ones who demand a lot of our time, so that they can complain about THEIR lives, talk about THEIR activities, cry about THEIR misfortunes. The advice was to gently and kindly set boundaries for GOMOs. I think that is good advice.

5. And, last, but certainly not least, I got to talking with a very sweet lady at lunch. She is a lawyer who is very knowledgeable in labor law. She could not have been nicer and invited me to call her with any questions. In the course of conversation, we figured out that I had graduated from high school with her husband (now that is a small world!). Both of us had moved away and somehow, on a dreary day in November, I had run into his wife. Anyway, what so impressed me with this woman was how she was so friendly and gracious, while remaining professional. There are so many lawyers (of course, not all) who are arrogant and give the impression that they are doing you a favor if they even deem to talk to you. I found her so refreshing. And I guess the lesson I learned from her is that no matter what surroundings you find yourself, no matter what your profession, no matter who you are with, there is always a call for friendliness and kindness and consideration of others. What kind of impression am I giving people?  What kind of impression are you giving people?

So there you have it. No Bible verses to back the lessons up (although I could find some). Life lessons can be found everywhere. Just open your eyes and  look around you today.

Turned Around

This is an actual conversation (not exact words)–

BOSS:  So, if you would like to eventually become a supervisor you need to step it up a bit.  You need to improve your attitude.

EMPLOYEE:  Yeah, but I do not have any incentive to do that.

This young employee’s thought is that in order for him to step up and do his best, he should be given financial incentive.  Come again?  What happened to the natural process of stepping up to do a difficult job, doing your best, and then being rewarded for that behavior?  It seems like so many have it all turned around.  Anyone who deals with employees, or children, for that matter, sees this on a regular basis.

Reward me first.  Like that is going to change how they perform.  This sense of “entitlement” has permeated our culture.  I see it in my kids.  “I deserve this” is not said, but certainly implied often.

What happened to hard work for hard work’s sake?  For a sense of accomplishment?  And most importantly, for pleasing God with an honest, hard day’s work?

Colossians 3:23-24 were my homeschooling theme verses.  I would quote this to my kids often when they complained of school work.  I still try to keep it mind as I go about the mundane duties of being a wife and mother.  I still quote it to my family now and again, as well!  It says:

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

When we do the work the Lord has set before us, we are doing it for Him.  Not for others.  Not for ourselves.  But for Him.  And we are to do it heartily.

Heartily, according to, means:

1.  in a hearty manner; cordially: He was greeted heartily.
2. sincerely; genuinely: He sympathized heartily with their plight.
3. without restraint; exuberantly; vigorously: They laughed heartily.
4. with a hearty appetite: The campers ate heartily.
5. thoroughly; completely: I’m heartily sick of your complaining.

Personally, I find this word rather convicting.  Am I doing my daily work “heartily”?  I know the answer is oftentimes “NO”.

These verses also inform us that material, earthly rewards are just an extra reward.  Our actual, eternal reward will be given to us by the Lord.   Am I working for my eternal reward, or am I focused on the reward I receive here on earth? Perhaps we are focused on a paycheck or a raise or maybe on receiving a compliment or praise from someone we respect.  It is so easy to get caught up in these things.

May we be challenged to do our best today…for the Lord…whether we be in school, at work, or at home.  We all have tasks set before us each day.  May we accomplish our tasks heartily, as unto the Lord, not to men!

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