Chaplain’s Devotion: Do-Over

This article was featured in the January Issue of Community Wraps

“Do over,” quips Timmy as his sister beats him at another game of tic-tac-toe. This is the second time Susan has beaten her brother at the game. Timmy is not the only one that would like a “redo” or do-over for something. This time of the year many are making resolutions about what they will attempt to do over, or even do for the first time as another new year begins.

If only more of our life events could be reset as easily as a game of tic-tac-toe. After all, how does one reset a broken relationship? Repair a vow that has been violated? Erase the harsh words once uttered in anger? These situations can make it hard to ask for a do-over. Forgiving ourselves or others is difficult to do. You see, most times, we don’t feel empowered to change our behavior. And offering forgiveness seems like a strange thing to do; especially if we have not admitted our own wrongdoing.

It’s even harder to ask God to grant us another chance – a do-over – for things like failing to love our neighbor as ourselves or for being more focused on our own wants than what God wants for us. The list goes on and on of things we consider impossible to do over.

What is important to remember is that we do get ‘do-overs’ with God. Jesus Christ makes the impossible, possible. His life, death, and resurrection clear the slate of those things for which we hold ourselves accountable. The price for our mistakes (sins) has been paid. As a result, we can rest assured that we have a do-over each day as our sinful past is drowned in the waters of our Baptism. We arise as a new person covered by Christ’s Holy Self. God remembers our sins no more. According to the scriptures, as far as the east is from the west, is how far our sins are removed from God’s mind. Talk about a do-over!

Sometimes, we do not allow ourselves to have the very do-over that God wants us to have. Instead, we hang onto our guilt. Personally, I often hold onto the very thing I dislike and carry around something God has already forgiven and forgotten. Therein lies part of the issue for me. I really do need to let go of the things God has already taken care of. I need to rest into God’s grace for me in the midst of the messiness of my life.

But “letting go” does not mean returning to the unhealthy approach or perspective we have just been forgiven for. The do-over God gives us, is an opportunity to live life differently. To learn from our mistakes and make amends for the hurt we have caused. To be transformed into the child of God that we were created and called to be. What a New Year’s resolution it is to live more fully into that perspective and reality!

Chaplain Jeffery J. Scheer