Have you ever failed miserably at something, or “dropped the ball” altogether, when you should have carried-out the project or task to the finish? Or, how about this: have your ever had the opportunity to do something positive, whether for yourself, or for someone else, and did not take the opportunity? Well, if you have anything in common with me, then you’ve probably done all these things. And, if you’re like me, you probably felt disappointed in yourself because you let that opportunity pass you by, or maybe you were afraid of what the results would be.
But, sometimes, a second opportunity comes along, and we can make right the wrongs, or simply make a better decision. Or, in other cases, make a decision to begin with. Whenever a second, or third, or fourth, or other number of chances come to make life (in any area) better than its current condition. I think that at some point, we should have a moment of thanks.
Having the opportunity to make things better is a precious gift which should not be taken for granted. Just think of all the good we could do for ourselves, and others, if we made decisions that could help us to stay out of trouble, or to end an ongonig conflict, or even to make a stranger feel welcome in his, or her, new surroundings?
I want to encourage you to always seek to make the best decisions you can and to use your resources to the best of your ability. Please know that I am not trying to tell you to be perfect and flawless. And even if your best decision turns out to have been a bad decision to begin with, please be thankful if you have a new opportunity to go at it again, remember the lessons you learned from the first go around, and make the best decision you can with what you know and have.
Once upon a time, I was in a giving a presentation about the rainbow and the symbolism of each color in the Bible at a women’s prayer event. After I gave the presentation, a contentious woman, who was sitting in the crowd, seized an opportunity to grab a microphone and began to falsely accuse me of mistreating her, and basically, trying to assinate my character and reputation with the people at the during. This was the second time she had done this an in the same public setting!
As she stood there and made her false accusations, I sat there in the chair and listened to her speak as if she was reading my favorite novel. I was so surprised at myself. Do you want to know why? I was surprised because the first time she did this, I stood up and screamed at her across the room as she made her slanderous accusations against me.
My reaction to the first incident was the exact opposite to the first time this happened to me because I had learned something very important: there is a way to handle a situation, and sometimes, blatant discuss and angry displays are probably not the best way to address an issue.
Moreover, I believe that part of what caused the change in my attitude concerning this offense is that the angry reaction I had to her first slanderous public display was the negative impact it had on the people who witnessed it and heard about it— fellow church members, friends, relatives, and so on. They were disappointed that I had allowed my anger to influence me to respond as angrily as I did. Furthermore, the fact that she later told me that she intended to “put me on blast” was outright hurtful and insulting, but I had a lesson to learn.
And what lesson was that: never let people see you sweat. When she took a second opportunity to try to publicly slander me, I took this second opportunity to demonstrate self-control and to de-escalate the problem by not contributing to it as I did the first time.
After her second attempt, it became obvious to onlookers that she was trying to mar my reputation. And because of my positive reaction to her negative actions, I kept my cool, and was able to repair some of the relational damage which I had caused as a result of losing my cool the first time around.
I’ll say it like this: make the most out of every opportunity you have, and keep in mind who is, and who is not around and the impact your decisions will make on others.
God, I thank you for another chance!