It’s easy to see why second chances were such an important part of Christ’s message and mission. Our need for second chances was the reason that mission was needed in the first place. Heavenly Father knew from the beginning that sending His children into mortality surrounded by opposition meant that we would slip up, fall, and sometimes fail to get it right. But He bids us to take this walk anyway, knowing that it is the only way we can continue to progress and ultimately become like Him. It was never part of God’s plan that we would stay the same. Adam and Eve needed to leave the Garden of Eden, because if they didn’t, “all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created” (2 Nephi 2:22). And that would thwart God’s plan, the entire objective of which is that we learn and grow and progress. The alternative was Satan’s perversion of the plan. He wanted to ensure that no one would ever slip up, that no second chance would be needed. Preventing us from making mistakes was Satan’s attempt to hold us back and keep us in subjection to him. By accepting the Father’s plan and rejecting Lucifer’s, we accepted both the possibility that we would falter and the promise that we would receive second chances here on earth.
So that’s the pattern. Our relationship with God is one of separation and restoration, of estrangement and reconciliation, of wandering and returning, of picking ourselves up where and when we have fallen, accepting the heavenly second chance, and trying again to live in harmony with higher ideals rather than with our lower impulses. Our loving Father’s mercy knows no bounds, His compassion no limits, His love no end. He sent His Only Begotten Son to live and die for us and, ultimately, to give us another chance.