You Don't Need a New Year for a New Beginning

You Don't Need a New Year for a New Beginning via Tirzah Magazine image by whimsical jane via flickr

We were all huddled in the candlelit, cozy living room where we gathered each week for Bible study. All eyes were on the speaker, seated with her legs folded and her hands in her lap.

“Our God is not a God of second chances.”

As she spoke these words she held her head high. Her face was radiant. And, though she had just recounted to us a dark past full of sins and struggles that would make many blush or lower their heads, she had no shame. She was triumphant. She was weightless. She was the beloved daughter of the King.

“He is a God of new beginnings.”

She had just finished giving her testimony and I will never forget how much I admired her at that moment. Those words hit my heart right where it hurt.

As humans, we give second chances all the time. We forgive boyfriends, girlfriends, strangers on a daily basis, but try as we might, we never really forget what they've done. Every action in their past, no matter if we've forgiven it, affects how we see them in the present. It’s like that friend that always ends up telling your secrets. Yes, you will continue to see her, but will you tell her anything intimate and vulnerable? No way, Jose. It’s like taking someone off the streets and into your home, but hiding your valuables.  That’s how humans do things. Even the term “’second chance” is keeping count, reminding you that you have failed before.

GOD isn't like that.

And what a sweet relief that is! He makes us new, washes us clean. Once we ask forgiveness, not a second thought is given to any of our sins.

"He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our inequities. He will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea." - Micah 7:19 (NKJV)

“As far as the east is from the west, so far He removed our transgressions from us” -Psalm 103:12 (NKJV)

Now I don’t know about y’all, but, even if I forgive, I tend to put sins on a shelf. Not just the sins of others, but my own as well. I set them up there to gather dust and sometimes when I’m feeling low I like to take them down and examine them. I turn them over in my mind and remind myself of all my shortcomings and unworthiness.

But it has to stop. 

Because Jesus died so that our sins would be gone. Endured mockery and torture so that they would be hurled to the depths of the ocean. Hung on a cross to ensure that they would be thrown as far as the East is from the West. Why would we go running after them trying to get them back? Enjoy your freedom.

Now that the New Year is upon us, we are sure to be bombarded with messages about self-improvement. Everyone will make plans to take advantage of this new beginning.  Purchase gym memberships, buy more vegetables, spend more time with loved ones, whatever it takes to meet the goals we set for ourselves. Most of those goals will be forgotten. That’s okay. Because we don’t need a date on a calendar to tell us that we can start over. We don’t need the stroke of midnight to deliver us a clean slate. We don’t need a new year to start living a new life.

Every time God forgives, and He always forgives, we are given a new beginning. Because our God is not a God of second chances.

// image by whimsical jane via flickr