Recommended Reading: Psalm 32:1–11; Ezekiel 33:10–16; Acts 2:37–39
To kids on a playground, the concept of a “do-over” is well known. When they’re playing kickball and the ball gets stuck in a tree, or when they’re playing basketball and the ball sticks between the backboard and the rim, a chorus of “do over” spontaneously erupts. It’s an unspoken rule that every kid knows.
Sometimes as adults we wish we could resurrect the rule in our own lives. When we miss a bill payment, we long to be able to appeal to the utility company for a “do-over.” When we speak a thoughtless word that hurts another person, we wish for the same.
Through the prophet Joel God tells the Israelites they can have a “do-over.” If they’ll repent God will return what he has taken away in punishment. Apparently a plague of locusts has destroyed the nation’s crops, and God promises to give the people abundant harvests once again.
So how can we make the reality of the “do-over” active in our life once again? Truth be told, this concept usually doesn’t work in our adult lives and relationships without a good deal of work and humility on our part. We bear the consequences of our mistakes until regret grows and we ask for forgiveness. That’s when grace can intervene, and the person we’ve harmed can forgive. The same is true in our relationship with God. If we understand that sin has kept us from realizing our potential, we need to do the same as the Israelites: repent. In this case, we don’t really achieve the “do-over” ourselves; instead, we receive it from God. We simply turn to God with our confession.
Many men find confession especially difficult because it cuts at our dignity and self-worth. When we confess we admit our mistakes and failures. We assume that these admissions don’t make us look very good. However, God loves to see us confess and repent of our sin, because in doing so we show that we desire to turn to him. When we’re “man enough” to confess our wrongs, God can choose to pour out his blessings for the next phase of our lives.