Forgiveness and Second Chances

Forgiveness and Second Chances

Sefer Yonah (the Book of Yonah) is all about second chances. Both Yonah and the whole city of Ninveh get a chance to try again – Yonah gets a second chance to do the prophecy work God instructs him to do; Nineveh gets a chance to fix its mistakes and survive another day. 

How do we view second chances at Makom?

  • We always get second chances at Makom.
  • It’s important to give them too, like if someone was mean to you one day they won’t be tomorrow.
  • And 3rd and 4th and 5th. But maybe not 6th it depends on if you did something really bad.

When have you gotten a second chance?

  • When my mom and dad count to three, I have until three to try again or I get a time out.
  • I tried to climb the cherry tree, so I tried again and the second time I got higher.
  • I took a picture of a flower, but the lighting was wrong. I got a second chance to adjust it after my dad showed me how.
  • I had a lot of chances when I was a baby and learning to use the bathroom.

What is a mistake that you’ve made? 

  • Sometimes I forget what day it is and if it’s a school day or not.
  • One time I threw a silver fork in the trash at school because I thought it was a plastic fork.
  • Sometimes I pick the wrong flavor at Rita’s.

Are there any mistakes that people don’t deserve a second chance to fix? What might those be?

  • If you let someone play with a really special toy and they break it, and I get a new one, I wouldn’t let them play with the new one.
  • If the thing is very special, then when you get a second chance to have it, you might not want to let it happen the same way.
  • If you know a person well enough to guess that their second chance will go the same way as the first chance.

Yonah and Ninveh only get their respective second chances after some soul searching, praying, and general mistake-fixing. We wondered whether it was easy or difficult for God to forgive the people of Ninveh. Do you think God would have been so kind to the people of Ninveh if they hadn’t immediately turned back from their bad choices? 

  • Once you’re used to something it might be hard to change. They are already so convinced they might not be able to change so quickly.
  • They can take their time but it can’t be over forty days that was what God said.
  • I think it was easy for God to forgive Ninveh because it’s easy for God to notice good choices.
  • I think it was hard for God to forgive Ninveh because God had made this whole plan to destroy the city. It’s hard to go back on a plan you’ve made.

Are you more or less likely to forgive someone if you think their apology is not sincere?

  • In the middle cause if you have a friend you accept their apology no matter what even if they don’t mean it.
  • It’s not real. It means absolutely nothing, if it’s not real. And if it’s not real, it’s not good.
  • Let’s just say it would be wasting energy to just move your vocal chords for one or two seconds. You do it for no reason.

What’s a second chance you’re grateful to have had? How can we use our second chances to improve ourselves and our work? And how do we apologize sincerely to encourage others to keep giving us more chances to do better next time?

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