I have always heard the saying, “God is a God of second chances.” But the more that I read Scripture, I am convinced that God is not just a God of a second chance, but He is a God of chances. You do not have to go very far into the Bible to realize that God gives many chances. Let’s just take Exodus for example. God performs mighty works to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. And what is the first thing they do when they cross the Red Sea? They start complaining about being thirsty. God had just parted the Red Sea for them! And what does God do? He gives them water. Then, they complain about hunger, and God gives them food. Then, they complain about thirst again. God gives them water. There is already more than a second chance. Next, as God is speaking the Law to Moses, giving the very thing that will set the Israelites apart from all the other people on the earth as God’s people, they build a golden calf to worship rather than worship God. What in the world? Now, you are probably thinking, “Well, God did punish them for that.” You are right; there were consequences. But with the gravity of that offense, it is a wonder upon wonders that God did not just call it quits and find another group of people. Instead, He reveals His glory to Moses and says, “The Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth.” If that does not convince you, what about Romans 5:8? “But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Or, what about 2 Peter 3:9? “The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.”
What does this mean for WorkFaith? At WorkFaith, we see people every day who are in need of chances from other people, not just from God. The majority of our clients have criminal histories of varying degrees. Apparently, we are not alone in this. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Survey of State Criminal History Information Systems, “As many as 100 million Americans have criminal records.” We see that our clients with criminal histories face barriers in obtaining employment that others do not. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, “Background Checking—The Use of Criminal Background Checks in Hiring Decisions,” “More than 60 percent of formerly incarcerated individuals are unemployed one year after being released.” As we have learned more of the realities facing those with convictions, we have been asking ourselves, “Who will join us in giving these individuals chances?” Who will choose to embrace the character of God and give not just a second chance but many chances? So as a team, we want to ask you to join our Lord in the business of giving chances. Will you pray about what that looks like in your life? Would your church consider coming alongside formerly incarcerated individuals to offer them chances? Would your business consider hiring individuals with felony and misdemeanor convictions to offer them chances? We believe that, as Christ followers, we must follow Him in giving chances. If you are interested in learning more about how you, your church, or your business can be involved in God’s work of chances, please reach out to our Executive Director, Andy Blake at firstname.lastname@example.org.