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Research: bad choices & second chances

 

NASHVILLE (BP) — Regret weighs down many Americans. According to a new study from LifeWay Research, almost half the country feels the weight of a bad choice from their past, even though a vast majority believe God gives second chances.

When asked to respond to the statement, “I am dealing with the consequences of a bad decision,” 47 percent of respondents agreed.

While self-defined Protestant or non-denominational Christians are less likely to agree (42 percent), a majority of those who said they are a born-again, evangelical, or fundamentalist Christian agree (51 percent) they are still dealing with a wrong choice from their past.

Recognizing a sizeable percentage of people are suffering consequences from past mistakes allows Christians to show grace, Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, said.

“Christians minister grace out of grace,” Stetzer said. “Caring for those dealing with pain and regrets is not about fulfilling obligations or relieving guilt, as all of that has already been taken care of by Christ.”

The study, sponsored by Bible Studies for Life, a group study from LifeWay Christian Resources, also found the vast majority of Americans believe God gives second chances for those who have made a bad decision.

Overall, 84 percent believe so, while 94 percent of Protestants and 98 percent of evangelicals agree God gives second chances.

Nearly one in five Americans believe God gives a second chance when a person depends only on God (19 percent), followed closely by when a person makes restitution (18 percent), does enough good (15 percent) or promises not to repeat the mistake (11 percent). Fewer than one in six Americans say they are not sure why God gives second chances.