Golf calls it a mulligan. IT uses Control-Alt-Delete. Whatever it’s called, at some point in time, we all want one and need one – a do-over. Oh, how I wish I could do many things over.
Everyone Desires a Do-over
We all fail and need a do-over. Sometimes, I fail because I overestimate my own strength. I think I am better and stronger than I am. Other times, I underestimate the influence of the evil one. He hates me and wants to destroy me. If he can get me to believe his lies, then Satan will defeat me. Last, I fail because I undervalue community. The truth is, I am more susceptible to failure when I separate myself from the community of faith. I failed and wished I could do a few things over.
Parental mistakes? Yes! Man, I wish I were more present with my kids growing up.
Financial mistakes. Yep! I wish I had saved more and spent less.
Leadership mistakes. I wish I were more decisive and firm on some issues.
Marital mistakes. Boy, I wish I loved harder, sooner.
I wish I could turn back the hands of time and live those moments again. If I could hit the ball again, I would square up a little more, keep my body quiet and not slice it or hook it into the woods. I wish I could hit Control-Alt-Delete and start with a clean slate. The truth is, these failures are part of our story of forgiveness and redemption. Our failures are designed to move us to take advantage of new opportunities and new ways of reaching our destiny and goals.
God Specializes in Do-overs.
Adam and Eve failed in the Garden of Eden, but God gave them a do-over.
Abraham lied and said Sarah was his sister, but God gave him a do-over.
David committed adultery with Bathsheba, but God gave him a do-over
Peter denied Jesus, but God gave him a do-over.
God specializes in do-overs. He did it for his people then, and he is willing to do it for his people today. Thinking about the past and not trusting God to handle it is a waste of time. We can’t change the past. We cannot rewind the hands of the clock. If we try, we are only making ourselves prisoners of regret and guilt. Only God can erase the past, press rewind, and hit control-alt-delete. If God is the only one who can change our past, then what responsibility do we have when we fail or need a do-over?
What To Do When You Need a Do-Over?
Believe that God is bigger than our failure. Some of our failures are big. God is bigger than your biggest failure. Much bigger. And, he wants to give us another chance. We know this in our heads, but this belief needs to trickle down to our hearts. We know that we believe this truth when we refuse to allow our failures to stifle our progress and rob us of joy.
Admit our failure to God and others. There is nothing more painful than watching someone live in the grips of arrogant self-denial. Self-awareness is the first step in dealing with failure. Admit your failure. Say it: “It was my fault. I procrastinated. Pride and arrogance took over, and I failed. I thought I was better than I was.”
If our failure is a result of sin, then we need to confess our sins to God and others and repent (1 John 1:9; James 5:16).
Apologize. In your failure, did you hurt someone or let someone down? If you did, go to them and humbly admit your failure, why you failed, and apologize for letting them down. Be specific. “I apologize for _____________.” Ask forgiveness. Move on.
Begin again. When we fail and are in need of a do-over, sometimes we shy away from ever trying again. Sometimes, failure deals us a mighty blow, but we cannot and must not stay on the canvas. Failure is not final. We must get up and begin again (Proverbs 24:16). If we are knocked down seven times, the Holy Spirit will give us the power to get up and begin again. For God sake, believe you are more than a conqueror, through Jesus Christ.
Jesus can move our failure to inactive status when we remember that he is bigger than our failures and he is willing to give us another chance to make progress and get it right.