But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense. (1 John 2:1)

YOU EXPECT YOUR KIDS to behave, right? But they’re not perfect. They make mistakes. What do you do when that happens? Do you write them off without a backward glance? Although we are not perfect parents, we don’t do that, do we? We love them. We might discipline them, but we also advocate for them. “Give her one more chance,” we say to a friend who has been hurt. “Please take him back,” we say to a school that expelled him. “She’ll work hard,” we say to a potential boss after she’s lost her job. We do what we can to help them succeed, even if they have failed—perhaps especially then.

In the same way, God expects us to obey His commandments. But when we fail, Jesus steps in and “speaks to the Father in our defense.” I can just hear Him. “Give her one more chance,” He says. And then He takes it a step further. “I love her so much that I want You to punish Me instead of her. Reject Me. Forsake Me. But not her, Father. Let Me carry the responsibility for her sins.” And it works! God accepts Jesus’ sacrifice so we can have another chance.

Am I going to blow it after that? Not if I can help it! Knowing that Jesus believes in me so much empowers me to live in the light.

Name the obstacle that is preventing you from growing in your faith.

Heather Gemmen Wilson is the author of the Global Warning Series (WPH), a fiction series for preteens. She is married to