In golf they call it a mulligan, sort-of. I may be taking the idea of a golf mulligan liberally, but when I took golf as a physical education class in college I called many mulligans!
A mulligan is a sort of do-over. You can take an extra stroke without it counting against you when you have had a poor shot. But you can only get one of these "do-overs" in a match.
When we have messed up, had a bad golf stroke, had a bad interaction with a co-worker, had a rough conversation with a loved one, had a slip-up in our sobriety ... whenever we have been less than we hoped ... we want a mulligan. We want a chance to do it over again.
So often we are under the impression that we can't get it. Perhaps people are less than gracious with us. Perhaps we are less than gracious with ourselves. Perhaps life itself has moved on and there doesn't seem to be a chance to make it right.
Once every year, when the calendar turns, New Year's becomes an opportunity to get a mulligan on the year we are leaving behind. Go ahead transform yourself as the year past fades away and the year before you waits to be lived. And yet here is the thing about our Christian story. Every moment is a mulligan moment. Every engagement is an opportunity for a do-over. Every interaction can be a New Year's Eve occasion. Here it is, February already, go ahead and give yourself a mulligan.
The Apostle Paul reminds us, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, [they are] a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17) The very choice to want to follow Jesus, to want to be who Jesus calls us to be, to desire a deepening relationship with Jesus Christ, affords us not only the opportunity but the very real possibility of a "do-over." We can become new at any moment when we ask God to change and transform us and then intentionally live into who God calls us to be. We may not be able to accomplish it on our own and yet, by the power of God through Jesus Christ, you are a new creation, at every moment, always in the process of becoming more and more like Jesus.
May you be generous and give mulligans and do-overs and grace to yourselves and others as we each work to become a new creation in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us and in our world.
"On Faith" is a weekly column in the News-Chronicle written by area religious leaders.