Have you ever wished that your life had a backspace or delete key? I have. I’ve spent hours upon hours reliving my life in my mind, wishing I could turn yeses into no’s or no’s into yeses or words of insult into words of kindness – or even silence.
An example is, perhaps, in order.
When I was in high school, a barn burned down in our neighborhood one night. I remember standing in the dark, in my pajamas, watching the volunteer firefighters putting out the blaze which, thankfully, did not spread or harm anyone. I, of course, felt badly for the family, but I had this little voice sniping at the back of my brain. This barn had belonged to a family who had several sons. And in the weeks prior to the fire, one of the boys – not a bad kid, just a normal mischievous boy – had intentionally run into me on my bicycle. I wasn’t hurt, but my bike was irreparable. And the day after the fire, while chatting with a girlfriend at school, I made a bitter and inappropriate remark that I bet one of those boys had burned down their daddy’s barn.
Predictably, as soon as the words were out of my mouth, I wished I hadn’t said them. It was too late, though, and by the end of the day, it was all over school. And by the time I got home from school, my parents were there, prepared to show me the error of my ways. Deservedly.
It’s rare that we get second chances in life. No do-overs. The bell can’t be un-rung. And most of the time when we screw up, all that’s left are consequences – broken relationships, broken hearts, broken promises.
Growing up in church, one of the words I heard a lot was “repent.” And from everything I saw in “real life,” repentance had everything to do with grudges and consequences, and nothing to do with forgiveness. I still remember the look in the eyes of the oldest of those brothers when I apologized. And we never were friends again…
But our authors flip my small idea of repentance completely on its head.
“What if repentance wasn’t a promise from you to God but a gift from God to you?”
Rich Mullins once said that God is like the kid that gives you a bloody nose and then gives you a ride home on his bike. I wish that the day Sam ran into my bike, he had stopped, hopped off of his bike, and helped me to limp mine home. Because I think that the bitter, angry kid I was needed to see Jesus like that. But though my regret about my words and my repentance about my actions didn’t prevent me from facing consequences and may not have earned me forgiveness from those boys, it still did give me a second chance. I have the chance to learn from my sin and next time, to act like Jesus. And that, my friends, is a gift.
This post is part of a weekly discussion about the book, “The Cure” by Lynch, McNicol, and Thrall. You don’t have to read the book to stick around and chat. If you did write a response to this chapter, however, you can link it up at the widget below. Then, go visit my co-facilitator, Jason, and see what he has to add to the discussion.
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The random drawing has been done and our winner is: STEPHEN CARTER Congratulations, Stephen! You’ve won a copy of The Cure: What If God Isn’t Who You Think He Is And Neither Are You? by John Lynch, Bruce McNicol, and Bill Thrall! Since you follow me on Twitter, if you’d like to DM me there, we can … [Read More...]