Did your life seem to be right on track, and then it ran right off the rails? Modern life is filled with pitfalls such as divorce, losing your job, sickness and the list goes on. It is filled with distractions that would like nothing more than to keep us from moving toward our goals. We have to keep moving forward.
Forgiveness is something frequently discussed in terms of the people close to us, but we often forget to forgive the closest person of all: ourselves.
It’s good to look back on your life and acknowledge your past mistakes and learn from them. It’s also important to forgive yourself for them so that you can move on with your life.
No good comes from putting your life are on pause to live in the past. We cannot go back and change the things that have happened. What we can do is move on, refusing to repeat the same mistakes.
I can remember the night very vividly, yet it was already almost two years ago. Fortune Gym, the gym in Hollywood where I had worked for six years, threw my wife and I a going away party. As I looked around at all the people in attendance, it hit me hard how much I was going to miss them all and how much I was actually going to be missed.
One of the people at the party was a young man I had met at the gym about two years before. We had chatted briefly and I had taught him a little Jiu Jitsu. The next time I saw him he told me he had read my book. He knew someone in the book, so we had a good laugh about it.
Over a two-year, period I trained with him often. One day I had a talk with him about his line of “work.” He was selling large quantities of pills and marijuana. I was worried about him because he had not yet been arrested for anything, but he was playing a dangerous game and it was bound to happen. You commit crimes, you will get caught.
I told him that it may look good and it may seem like easy money, but in the end you will pay the price. I could see he was unsure of what to do with his life, but I could also see that he took note of the message I was trying to get across. A few weeks later he had an unrelated legal scare and was facing some serious problems. The legal problems ended up going away, but I am pretty sure it helped guide him toward making better choices in life.
Although I haven’t seen him since the party, I speak to him about once a month on the phone. Thanks to social media I can follow the things he is doing with his life. He opened a music studio, started managing talent and even started his own music label. He got a chance to live his life differently, and he took it.
A second chance is always there if we are willing to sum up the courage it takes to change. It is never easy giving up what is familiar no matter how wrong it is.
I left Brooklyn, New York and drove to JFK International Airport on a cold November morning.
I parked my car in long term parking and took the train into the terminal. I knew deep inside I was not coming back. I had two suitcases and a laptop. I knew life was about to change for me, but I had no idea how much. In that moment, I was just relieved for fresh start.
That was twelve years ago. I still had many lessons to learn and places to live before I reached where I am today. I had to learn to forgive myself, to forgive others and to accept God’s forgiveness and plan for my life. Leaving Brooklyn was only the beginning of my second chance.
I have been reading the Gospels this week. It is clear to me that Jesus took those that were considered broken and gave them new purpose and everlasting life. He even forgave Peter after he denied him in public. If we know someone who denies Christ, who are we to give up on them when Jesus did not give up? Who are we to shun away people who may have not done the right thing in the past, if Jesus did not do that? How can we hold our past against ourselves when he does not?
America is the land of second acts, it is still the best place in the world to reinvent yourself.
I am over a decade into my second act, and I am still learning new lessons and moving forward every single day.
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.