Sally was pretty sure she was going to get into trouble and that thought made her nervous. She looked out at her classmates scattered on the field in front of her and then down at the new black patent-leather Mary Jane’s she’d begged her mother to wear this morning and her mother’s warning invaded her thoughts, “Sally, if you wear these new Sunday shoes to school, you better be extra careful, because if they get ruined I don’t know what I’ll do.” Sally shivered as the open threat found its mark. She didn’t know what her mom would do either but she looked back at the field full of expectant classmates and knew she had a chance to bring a few kids home with a well-placed kick.
She motioned she was ready to the pitcher and gulped as the large red ball bounced, shuddered, and finally rolled its way toward her. Sally clenched her fists and moved to kick the ball with all her might but at the last minute, with her mother’s words echoing in her head, she held back and the ball skidded off her right foot and into the bleachers on the right hand side.
Dejected, she turned to walk back to the bench and looked down to see the dull mark made by the ball streaking off the right side of her shoe. Ruined. Ruined, she thought as she leaned over and tried to smudge the mark away with her thumb. Then, as the groans and laughter of the other kids died down, she suddenly had a thought. Sally shot upright, turned to the field and screamed, “DO-OVER!”
The other kids quieted and one by one looked up at her. She yelled again, “I WANT A DO-OVER!”
It was the greatest thing a kid could ever yell. Everyone would take their original places and the kid doing the over would take his or her place as if nothing had ever happened. A fresh start. A clean slate.
Don’t we sometimes wish that we still lived in a world where we could have a do-over?
As adults the stakes get higher. We’re no longer simply playing kickball and scuffing our Sunday shoes in the schoolyard. We are sinning. Sin creeps into our lives and drives a wedge between us and our family, us and our friends, us and our God.
Sin not only separates me from God, sin hinders my growth as a Christian. I cannot continue to develop if I don’t face the truth about myself, own up to it, make the choice to change, and ask for forgiveness.
Wouldn’t you love to look up toward the heavens and yell to God,” I want a do-over!”
The truth is … you can.
When Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in John Chapter 4, He perfectly illustrates the do-over.
… but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
~ John 4:14
In this verse Jesus explains to the Samaritan that His Holy Spirit is the water that leads to eternal life. The Samaritan isn’t expecting it. In fact, here she is at the well mid-day, perhaps even after all the other women of the village have come to take what they need for their families. She hides from them in her shame only to encounter a Jewish man. Do you think she was crestfallen when she saw Him? Probably. She only needs to draw some water and waited this long in the day to do it so she wouldn’t be seen and now, not only does she come to find this man here, He addresses her! He seeks her out. Is she put at ease because by talking to her He releases her embarrassment? I think so. Because by speaking to her, Jesus offers her Himself. Grace, in the form of living water.
Jesus asks her about herself and when she lies to cover the truth, He exposes it for her but, with no condemnation. When God holds a mirror up to you “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.” (John 4:29a) and even though He sees through your shame and your sorrow, He accepts you for who you are! What greater freedom can we ask for? It may be the most profound do-over ever witnessed.
When it comes to life eternal, there may be no greater feeling in this world that that of knowing we have another chance. No matter what we’ve done. No matter what we’ve suffered. No matter the pain we’ve caused. If we confess it to Jesus and repent, Jesus forgives us and restores us to a place where we can resume our progress to become more like Him. He redeems us and wipes us clean.
Lord, I need a do-over!
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