Taking Advantage

Written by cycleguy on February 25th, 2016



When you hear about someone “taking advantage” it almost immediately brings up a negative thought. As a pastor, I have been taken advantage of (as have we all), and have seen people take advantage of a church as they “work the system.” People go from handout to handout without batting an eye.

There is no doubt there are people who want to take advantage of (and do) of God’s second chances. One of my commenters has brought that up a couple of times. Tragically, he is not far from the truth. There are many who will say, “Well, I believe in God’s grace and forgiveness” and then they run wild figuring God would forgive.

I’ve spent the past 6 weeks talking about Second Chances-after shame; after running; after failing; after falling; after fear; and after hearing impossible. But a valid point is raised in the question of what about those who continue to sow wild oats…all the while expecting God to forgive? A more important question to me is how can I make sure I am on the right path? This Sunday I’m finishing up my series on Second Chance by talking about “When taking advantage is good. My Scripture is I Peter 1:3-9…a challenge even for the most mature believer you know.

The world will be changed-not by our words-but by actions which are fueled by God’s power. Thanks for your prayers.


19 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ceil says:

    Hi Bill! Jesus was right on target when He said ‘Blessed are those who do not see, yet believe.’ It was hard enough when people did see Him! Imagine the struggles we all have in our journey to faith…Well, you don’t have to imagine them, you see them as a pastor everyday.

    It’s so hard for me to understand people milking systems, trying to get by doing nothing, ‘taking advantage’. But I think I come at it from a place of having a lot. If I wasn’t given much, would I develop that habit of taking, and forget about giving?
    Love your last thought here. Anyone can talk about it. God wants people to ACT. To be His hands and feet.
    Yikes, I think I’m all over the place here! Your post has a lot of wonderful thoughts Bill.

    • Jeff says:

      The habit of taking is not reserved for those with little. I know plenty of people, having worked on poverty issues, that were quite poor that wouldn’t take anything. I also know some people that have plenty that would take anything they can. It is not what you were given in goods it is what you were given in self respect and honesty. Many poor people have just as much honesty and self respect as those with more goodies. Just wanted to make that point.

      • cycleguy says:

        I understand what Ceil is saying and I don’t believe she would disagree with you Jeff. I know I don’t. There are all kinds of people in the world. The takers and the givers. They are in all races, ethnics, and social strata. I find the self-respect and honesty you speak of to be mostly missing in the takers.

  2. Pam says:

    Sounds like an interesting twist, Bill. Prayers for open hearts.

  3. Dan says:

    Is it possible that those who are still “sowing wild oats” have not completely surrendered their life to Christ, even though they have asked for forgiveness? He or she still wants to be in control of their life. I know it sounds cliche’ but if Christ isn’t Lord of all, He isn’t Lord at all. It seems that someone living that way may still be trying to fill a void in his/her life that only Christ can fill. True fulfillment, contentment, and peace won’t come until everything is surrendered to Christ and He is made Lord of one’s life. Everything else is just settling for second-best.

    • cycleguy says:

      Someone has said, “The trouble with living sacrifices is they keep crawling off the altar.” True that. It is also true that many have failed to surrender to the lordship of Jesus. But I find that even though I pray that and consciously want that…I still fail. I do agree trying to find contentment, fulfillment, etc outside of Christ is empty and second best. Thanks for the comment Daniel.

  4. I’m terrible when it comes to recalling scripture by book and verse, but your post today reminded me of something Paul wrote, admonishing them that because they were forgiven did not give them license to sin all the more, knowing God would offer a second chance. We should never take advantage of God’s great goodness and mercy toward us.
    Blessings and prayers, Bill!

    • cycleguy says:

      Romans 5 & 6 touch on just that Martha. “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!” Paul goes on to talk about taking advantage of God’s grace and what I would call “presuming on His grace.”

  5. floyd says:

    Praying the second chances don’t multiply into the needing of commas to count the number…

    Praying for you, brother.

  6. Lisa notes says:

    I’m grateful for second chances myself. Only the person themselves and God knows if the sincerity is real or not. It’s easy for us to judge from the outside, but we can never know for sure if someone is taking advantage or not. I’d rather err on the side of grace. 🙂 Sounds like a great sermon series, Bill.

    • cycleguy says:

      I agree Lisa. I am personally grateful for those second chances. But I also need to be very careful judging someone else lest I misunderstand what is in their heart. As for great? I’ll defer. 🙂

  7. Jeff says:

    Your theology is not about second chances. It is about an unlimited number of chances. And therein lies the fallacy of the theology. There are consequences of our actions. And to believe in a God that has no consequences and gives unlimited chances is silly. If not immoral.

    • Hi, Jeff,
      First, I agree, that there are consequences to our actions. Forgiven or not, we live with our wrong/right choices; they had impact when we made them, for better or for worse.
      But there is no fallacy in the theology. God is there for us, no matter what. He gave each one of us free will to turn to Him and it remains our choice in the midst of our human frailty. If you’ve read any of the Old Testament prophets, the message is clear: God is infuriated with our misbehavior, but if we earnestly repent, He will forgive, and He never ceases to love, because He is love.

      • cycleguy says:

        I agree there are consequences to our actions Jeff. But while my theology allows for forgiveness for sin, yours does not (because you do not acknowledge sin0. I’ve also mentioned that “second chance” is used as a metaphor for starting over and allowing God to renew us. I do believe in more than one “second chance.” If not, I’m doomed. I have failed more than once. Peter failed Jesus more than once. And yet…he was forgiven to be used again. As have I. I do believe God is disappointed in our behavior and therefore, He doesn’t shield us from the consequences of said behavior. An illicit relationship may result in a pregnancy, for example. The person may receive forgiveness but that does not erase the pregnancy as though it didn’t exist. Or a ruined reputation. I am silly enough to believe in a God who does give more than second chances. I do believe in a good Father who loves me unconditionally.

  8. Linda Stoll says:

    Praying for you as you finish up your preparation, as you preach truth tomorrow, as your people change and grow in response to the Spirits’s leading, Bill …

  9. Ed says:

    If only we would consider second chances as our last chance, period! I think that we would be more careful, and more grateful.