I understand the sentiment behind this phrase, and in many situations, I'm convinced it's a very healthy way to think. And in fact, even when I disagree with it from a literal standpoint, I still think the motivation is usually probably solid. Let's start over and get it right, right? That's usually what people mean when they say this. The problem is that it doesn't do much toward motivating people to get NOW right. The tendency to put things off already dominates many of our lifestyles, and this way of thinking contributes to that mentality in all sorts of ways--some healthy and others not so much. The unfortunate truth is that sometimes it really *is* too late to affect our earthly lives in certain ways, but it's NEVER too late to pursue the Gospel and move toward it in any and every circumstances.
It's too late to plant a garden the week before the snow comes and expect to harvest anything, but it's never too late to start planning for next year.
It's too late to read the instructions *after* you've incorrectly assembled something, but it's never too late to learn from your mistakes and have the patience to do it right the next time.
It's too late to snuggle a newborn baby against your chest and sing him to sleep once he has grown into a teenager, but it's never too late to begin loving a child well and in such a way that honors Christ.
It's too late to unbreak a child's heart after you have spit out words that cause deep and significant wounds, but it's never too late to apologize and by the power of Christ severely adjust the way you speak to him.
It's too late to expect immediate trust from someone you have repeatedly betrayed, but it's never too late to begin working toward earning trust from them again.
It's too late to fully reconcile with an ex-spouse once he has remarried, but it's never too late to offer grace and forgiveness and experience a healed relationship.
It's too late to schedule an intervention for someone who never woke up after the last time they planted a needle in their arm or poisoned their body with excessive alcohol, but it's never too late to reach out to others dealing with similar problems and help them find relief (and better yet hope) in something other than a needle or a bottle.
It's too late to lie on your death bed after a lifetime of living only for yourself and expect to leave much of a legacy, but it's never too late to start building that legacy while you're still breathing.
And of course, the list could go on and on. The point is that FOR SURE second chances exist. This is the whole point of grace. The Gospel itself is the ultimate second chance, giving all of us the opportunity to be righteous in God's sight through the power and sacrifice of Christ even after the fall of all mankind in the Garden of Eden. (And don't act like things would have turned out differently if you had been there instead of Adam or Eve, 'cause we're ALL disgustingly sinful in our own ways.) But let's not get so enamored with the idea of those second chances that we're missing the here and now altogether. Grace exists, and it is available to every single one of us. PRAISE GOD!!! I shudder to think of where I might be without it. It literally makes me sick to my stomach. But while I celebrate grace with all that is within me and need fresh doses of it every single day (actually every minute of every day), my goal is to need less of it each day. Now before you get all nervous and unsettled-- I am fully aware of the fact that I will never ever achieve that goal in this earthly body. I know that I will never be sinless or anywhere remotely close to it. But what I hope to do is to daily become more obedient, more passionate, more filled with the fruits of the Spirit, and more in love with the Gospel, therefore needing maybe just one less second chance.
Romans 6:1-2 (ESV)
"What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?"