Do you know the relief of being given a second chance when you made a mistake? Perhaps you were driving over the speed limit. As you were pulled over, you knew you were going to get a ticket and you deserved it. The police officer noticed, however, that this was your first offense and he gave you a warning instead of a ticket. He told you to learn a lesson and slow down in the future. You promised that you would and drove away, very relieved and thankful for a second chance.

In the book of Acts, we read about a young man named John Mark. At the end of Acts 12 and the beginning of Acts 13, we find that Paul and Barnabas bring John Mark with them to assist on their first missionary journey. This is quite a compliment to John Mark to go and learn from these noble Christian leaders.

For some reason that is not explained, John Mark leaves the mission trip and returns home to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13). When Paul and Barnabas are preparing for another mission trip, Barnabas wants to take John Mark, but Paul believes it is a bad idea to take with them one who has “withdrawn from them…and had not gone with them to the work” (Acts 15:38).

Paul and Barnabas disagree sharply about what to do with John Mark. Barnabas takes John Mark and Paul takes Silas to go on different mission trips. While we appreciate Paul’s feelings about the commitment and responsibility needed to do mission work, aren’t we thankful for Barnabas’ forgiving heart?

As a result of the second chance that Barnabas gives John Mark, this young man grows as a Christian leader. Even Paul observes later in his life about John Mark, “He is helpful to me in my ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11, NIV). Forgiveness leads us to focus on the potential of others instead of their past mistakes.

We all appreciate being given a second chance. It is not so easy to give the second chance, especially if we have been wronged. Barnabas reminds us that a second chance can change a life.

Today, I will…focus on the potential of others and be more forgiving. I will remember how I feel when given a second chance.