Chloe was sitting in the living room one day, trying to put together a puzzle. I watched her as she’d pick up a piece, try to place it into the pieces she’d already put together and not be able to make it fit.
She’d try it in one or two more places before discarding the piece, picking up a new one, and trying it in the same few places before repeating her actions. After several failed attempts, Chloe heaved a huge sigh and said, “That’s it, I’m starting over!”
She took apart what few pieces she did have together, mixed them in with all the others and started the puzzle over completely.
I wondered if I should say something to her about perseverance. I considered telling her not to give up and start over, but to keep trying. Yet wasn’t her starting over still perseverance of a sort? And don’t children often start over when things don’t go their way?
I remember when I was a child, my brother and I used to play whiffle ball in the back yard every day during the summer. At least once (sometimes several times) a day, one of us would make a bad play and yell, “Do-over!” We both understood that should either one of us make that declaration, play would cease, everything would be set the way it was before that play began and the play would be repeated.
We even have “do-overs” in movies. We call them “reboots.” There’s an understanding among the viewing public that if a movie franchise is rebooted (such as the Batman, Spider-man or James Bond movies, to name a few), everything in the previous movies should not be taken into consideration when watching the new ones.
It makes me wonder why we don’t have more “do-overs” in our spiritual lives. We make poor decisions, we get into trouble, or circumstances overwhelm us. Why don’t we cry, “Do-over?”
From a spiritual standpoint, we’d call this repentance. We realize we’ve made a mistake, we’d like to try again, so we repent and ask God to give us another chance.
God’s response is similar to ours when we’re playing a game, or watching a rebooted movie franchise. He “resets” (or forgives, 1 John 1:9) us and does not take our previous sin into consideration (Jeremiah 31:34).
Do you need a “do-over?” Why not repent of your sins, and ask God to give you one, right now?
Parrish Myers is a local minister. His column appears biweekly in Sunday Life and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.