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New Year: A time for do-overs

Editor’s note: One of the appealing things about the new year is claiming a fresh start. Maybe you didn’t maintain your weight like you wanted to in 2014 — or read your Bible as consistently as you would have liked.  The new year offers that most magical of concepts — the do-over.

We thought this would be an appropriate time to re-post something by Dr. Dan Errickson, who reminds us that the do-over isn’t just for kids and that the concept itself is a holy one.

You can start life over again.

Every kid who has scampered across a playground or jumped into a backyard ball game is familiar with this magical phrase.

A ball may have become stuck in a tree branch or sailed over a roof. Or a play was so controversial that the only recourse was for a fourth-grade batter to scream, “Do-over!”

These powerful words gave the elementary school athlete a momen­tary rebirth. A third strike would always be forgiven because the other children knew they would also need one.

“The do-over was one of childhood’s most powerful rites, for it ex­erted our dominion over the laws of space and time,” observes the website Streetplay.com. “The clock was rolled back, the game was restored to the exact status it had before the contested event, and play was resumed. … It is with fond memories that we recall the do-over, a divine method of resolu­tion, and contemplate the untold blessings it could bring if it were some­how extended into our contemporary lives.”

Based on its many references in popular culture, there appears to be broad appeal to the idea of a do-over for adults.

“Do-over’s” premise invites intellectual speculation about what a man or woman could accomplish if they had a chance to do it all over again, observes web reference Wikipedia. “Many an adult laments, ‘If only I knew then what I know now.’”

Fortunately for Christians, no speculation is required! The good news of the gospel is that God offers us a fresh start irrespective of our age and the number of skeletons in our closet. Although we can’t transcend time and rewrite our personal history, we can use the wisdom of lessons learned and the favor of God to start over.

Instead of giving up when we fail, the Bible tells us we can “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Our emotions may tell us that we aren’t good enough for God—that we’ve squandered too many opportunities. But we must look beyond our feelings to the truth of Scripture. We can have another chance because God never gives up on us. In fact, he counted on the entire human race needing a do-over. That is why he sent Jesus Christ to die and rise again on our behalf. Because of the forgiveness of God, every day can be a new beginning.

You may be thinking, “Yes, but you don’t know what I’ve done.” Well, we don’t know, but God does. And Scripture tells us that he has “unlimited patience” (1 Timothy 1:16). The miracle of Christianity is that God, who knows our darkest secrets, loves us more than any human being ever could.

With him, a new life is really possible.

The Message (a biblical translation in contemporary language by Eu­gene H. Peterson) in 2 Corinthians 5:17 reads, “Anyone united with the Messiah (Jesus) gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!”

Scripture also tells us that, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, “God is for us” — not against us. (Romans 8:31).

So the goal of his do-overs is to help us put aside any notions that, as followers of Jesus Christ, we must give up and resign ourselves to a life of uselessness and brokenness. It has been God’s plan from the beginning to allow us to start anew, to give us a fresh start. So reach up and receive God’s do-over for your life found in Jesus Christ and then imagine the possibilities!

(For more on this topic go to “Grandfathering: A dad do-over” by Dr. Dan Erickson.)

1 Comment

  1. Jeff's Gravatar Jeff
    January 3, 2015    

    I had a detached father who would throw money at a problem rather than solve it. I was left to my own selfish ways. I was full of myself, arrogant. So awful was I that I warn all men and women because I did this.

    I didn’t work, wouldn’t provide for my wife and love my children. Instead I lived off my father. My arrogance turned into evil. It ran through me. I gave my wife no option but to leave. I gave her no resources–House, food, support. She left and I had our children. I brainwashed them; their mom now was evil. She still tried. She begged us to come to Austin. I said, “No, we are better off with out you.” I pretended at being a Christian. A phony pretender con man. Next I’m getting a girlfriend. Drag my children into it. Make them be nice to her.

    Fast forward. My wife and I are reconciling. She knows and forgave me. We are trying.

    The warning. Men, don’t date. Don’t trash you wife. Try harder–you married her. Make it work. Don’t throw away someone like old electronics. Guys, quit lying just to get a piece. Don’t drag your kids into it. Concentrate on them.

    Don’t be me!

    Now women. Don’t fall for the line, “I’m divorcing my wife. You’re the one.” That’s b.s. and your being lied to. Plus you’re trying to break up a marriage. And you say you’re a Christian. No, you’re a home wrecker.

    I did all of this. Hear my words. DON’T.

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