Q. I sinned very badly and my Christian reputation has been damaged. What can I do to restore it?
A. Your reputation has suffered obviously and my first thought is, before whom? If you are more concerned about what people think of you, than of your standing before God, then you need to repent before Him in sincerity. He gave you a Christian reputation; He maintained it while you walked with Him; only He can restore it. Anything less would draw you into hypocrisy.
Once you are walking with God again in humility and love, be sure He will attend to your reputation before Man. It is not difficult to be restored to the Lord; His forgiveness and acceptance are immediate upon your repentance. With people, though, it’s a different matter for they judge harshly and easily and forgive with difficulty. So leave it all in your Heavenly Father’s hands. Let Him restore you.
The Book of Jonah is full of God’s second chances.
Jonah sinned and ran away from God and His command. When many lives were threatened in the storm at sea, he asked the sailors to throw him overboard (1:12). He nearly drowned, and expected to be a prisoner in the deep forever (2:5, 6). But God gave him a second chance – in the form of a huge fish.
He also got a second chance to worship God. Three days confined in the disgusting quarters of the fish’s entrails taught him to pray and praise the Lord. By the end of his prayer, Jonah was ready to get back on track, and God gave him a second chance to go to Nineveh. This time he went.
But God’s merciful second chances are not only for Jonah. After hearing Jonah’s message, the king of Nineveh repented and called his people to repentance (3:7-9). God gave the people of Nineveh a second chance and spared them from the destruction they were headed for.
And He will do the same for you, if you ask Him. Make reclaiming your relationship with Him your top priority.
(Read also Joel 2:12-17; Micah 7:18, 19; Zechariah 10:6-12; Luke 7:36-50; Galatians 1:11-24.)