Starting Over

There are two kinds of Christians: Those who sincerely believe in God and those who, just as sincerely, believe that they believe. You can tell them apart by their actions in decisive moments.

— Richard Wurmbrand

How many times in your life have you thought to yourself, I wish I could start over. Maybe you wish you could start over in your education. You could have been more focused in college, when you partied away your freshman years. Maybe it’s your finances that got out of control and you wish that you could somehow go back to a time when you didn’t owe so much credit card debt. What about your marriage? Did you make a mess out of your relationship with the one you love, and now your relationship is marred and scarred. Do you wish you could start over?

A new beginning can be anything from starting a new job or relationship, to moving to a new city or starting a new exercise routine. The good news is that God can give you the opportunity to start over, to begin anew.

In Luke 4:16–21, Jesus is back home in Nazareth and has been handed the scroll in the synagogue. He reads from the text in Isaiah that speaks of what God calls “Jubilee.” “The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captive and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and a year acceptable to the Lord”—the year of Jubilee.

Every 50 years Israel proclaimed a Jubilee year, a giant reset—a reset for good, for God’s purposes, not for a political agenda. The Jubilee that Jesus is proclaiming is an opportunity to start fresh in all areas of life, but especially in your relationship with God. In the Jubilee slaves were freed, property was returned to its original owner, and debts were forgiven.

The Jubilee that Jesus was talking about is freedom from the wages of sin, a new beginning, a second chance. There are some psychological aspects to think about when it comes to second chances. Number one is forgiveness. Giving or receiving a second chance often requires forgiveness, both of oneself and others. Forgiveness involves letting go of negative emotions such as anger or resentment, and moving forward.

Number two is trust. Second chances often involve rebuilding trust in relationships. For the person giving the second chance, this may involve being willing to trust again after being hurt or let down. For the person receiving the second chance, this may involve demonstrating trustworthiness and reliability.

Number three is self-reflection. Second chances provide an opportunity for self-reflection and growth. For the person receiving the second chance, this may involve reflecting on what led to the initial failure or mistake and taking steps to change or improve.

Then, number four is empathy. Second chances often involve an element of empathy. The person giving the second chance may need to empathize with the person who made the mistake or failed, while the person receiving the second chance may need to empathize with the one they hurt.

In times of change the learners shall inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

— Eric Hoffer

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