Have you ever done some “bone head” thing you would love to undo, or take back? I call these times “do-over moments.” My life is full of such times and they usually involve my mouth because it seems to have a way of speaking before my mind is fully engaged (all of you who know me are either smiling or nodding your head or rolling your eyes at this point.). I shall never forget the time I was speaking to a large group of teens in British Columbia. I meant to say “should sit” but my traitorous mouth switched the beginning sounds of the two words. I was profoundly embarrassed and all I wanted was a simple do-over!
Sometimes my actions are the causative agent of my need for a do-over. Like the time I stumbled as I was going on stage to speak to about 800 middle school students. If that wasn’t bad enough, I failed to realize that when I had tripped and fallen (I even bounced a few times because I was so “fluffy” then), the zipper of my jeans had popped open. I stood there for half an hour just flapping in the breeze. Believe me, that is something young children should NOT see! I think they wanted a do-over as much as I did at that point.
Other times the resulting consequences of misjudgments are the cause of a do-over moment. I remember driving to school to pick up our son. It was a glorious San Diego day with blue skies and balmy breezes and I was feeling good. I began to sing the child’s song, “God Made Me Special.” The more I sang, the better I felt. The better I felt, the faster I drove….until I noticed some flashing red lights in my rearview mirror.
My good feelings came to a screeching halt and I was in the middle of another do over moment.
But too often our do-over moments go beyond embarrassment. We say and do things that leave us with feelings of guilt, shame, grief, and deep regret. The evil one delights in using these feelings to draw us away from God and from people so that we are caught in a downward spiral of self-condemnation. I don’t know about you, but it is way too easy for me to give in to the temptation to withdraw into myself, away from others. I find myself dwelling on the lies about my lack of worth, how unlovable I am, what a failure I am, and worst of all, God’s inability to forgive my heinous sin. We all have areas of weakness that Satan will attack. Have you ever stopped to identify the areas where you are most fragile? This knowledge is imperative if we are to fight off the attacks of the evil one when he tries to defeat us and discourage us. He wants us to give up and wallow in pain, grief and rejection. He wants us to feel hopeless and helpless. He wants us to feel that God has given up on us just as we have given up on ourselves.
But that is not what God wants. He is a God of do-overs! He’s a God of second chances and new beginnings. He redeems our past, walks beside us to strengthen us in the present, and assures us of hope for the future. We can fight Satan’s plans by drawing near to the heart of God and hear Him speak these familiar, yet profound words of truth, love, forgiveness, and grace:
- “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
- “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with my loving-kindness.” Jeremiah 31:17
- “In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Ephesians 1:7
- “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
- “The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the people on the face of the earth to be His people, His treasured possession.” Deuteronomy 7:6
- “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free….SO if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:32,36
There are so many more things He wants to whisper in our ears to comfort and strengthen us so we don’t fall into the temptation of self-condemnation. We just need to take the time to listen. And we need to persevere – even when we don’t feel like it. Whether you struggle with embarrassment caused by your mouth or actions, have to deal with consequences of choices, or fight the lies of Satan, KNOW that God longs to give you a do-over so you can learn from your experiences while gaining a fresh understanding and appreciation of the fullness of His grace. I leave you with these words of God ringing in your ears, “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Romans 5:2b-5