The Words of the Musiol Family
A "do-over" is first experienced when we are about 8 years old and we strike out in baseball, or a kickball gets by our foot. A "do-over" means you get another chance, immediately, to get it right.
I needed a do-over last week. I was at a party talking to Marshall, one of my son's friends. Marshall sincerely said to me, "Zack is a really good person." My analytical mind took over and I said something sterile like, "What is the definition of 'good'? Different people perceive goodness differently because of our consciences. Therefore we have to be careful of what we believe to be true." (Yawn)
The following day Zack confronted me saying, "Marshall told me what you said about me. He said you don't think I'm a good person."
It was time for a do-over; another chance. What I wished I had said to Marshall at the party was, "I'm so glad you recognize what a good person Zack is. And I see he picks good people as friends, like you." (When I see Marshall next, I will tell him just that.) The next day, I called Zack and told him that I have always known he was a very good person; good to the core. I spoke from my heart, and he believed me.
It's never too late for a do-over: Never! This is because we are created in the image of God and He delights in second chances. But for a successful do-over you need three things; the desire to do it right, mercy, and a change in how you think.
"Mercy" is the forgiveness, kindness, compassion and patience it takes to give someone another chance. True mercy is not feeling pity for someone so you let them try again, but compassion is loving them enough to see (and help them believe) the possibility that they will get it right. Because you have faith in them, you encourage them to try again. My son and I could still be estranged if he didn't have mercy and give me another chance.
Three months ago a woman came into my office with a health problem. This pretty young woman was nervous and angry. Her husband was having an affair; she was betrayed after sharing many years and children together. After the river of her grief flowed for a while, I interrupted her and practically begged her to not give up. Today she called to tell me of the progress she and her husband were making because she is giving him another chance.
If you found your spouse was having sex with another woman, or they couldn't stop watching pornography on the internet, could you extend the mercy to give him/her another chance? At home, at work, with friends, and even as a nation, we are being hurt by people. And chances are we are seriously hurting others.
How can we stop the pain? By pulling out our "Mercy Card" as many times as possible each and every day. Having mercy for another means that we not only give them a second chance, but we support and cheer them on to success. Mercy means you empathize with how difficult it is to change, and you would even change places with them if you could.
This is the essence of God's attitude toward us at all times-no matter how horrid our mistakes are. "The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made". (Psalms 145:9) God's middle name is Mercy. This was and still is the motivation of Jesus, the Messiah, as he continually gives advice to us about how to live and love one another.
How can we develop our God-given merciful character? Look for opportunities to give people second chances! It is an essential skill to practice because the more mercy you give out, the more mercy and love you will receive. (Matt 5:7) Once you start consciously practicing kindness and clemency daily, you can progress to the real battleground of the heart; your relationships with your spouse, your parents, your children and the people closest to you.
Many of us are involved in small groups. As we meet with people regularly we get to know not only their good qualities but we start to see their "darker side". Let's say Self-righteous Joe starts to get on your nerves and you say something in the meeting that hurts them so much they walk out. What next? You want to explain yourself so you e-mail the person you hurt. But it's their choice to give you another chance.
We need mercy and second chances in our lives every day. We are the most intimate extension of God, whose nature is merciful and shines like the sun on both the good and the evil (Matt 5:45). The God-like skills of being merciful and humbly pursuing do-overs are essential as we develop our families and extended families our small groups and in our neighborhood.
When you wake up from a bad dream, make it a habit to close your eyes, go back into the dream and make it end better. My daughter had a dream about vampires last week. I suggested she close her eyes and change the scary blood-suckers into humming birds and watch them fly away!
If you make a mistake and find yourself in a nightmare in real life, immediately find a way to try to correct it. You may find yourself screaming at a loved one just because you need an outlet for your personal pent-up rage. Try for a second chance. Explain that it is your personal problem with anger. Repent and change, even if you have been abusive for 25 years. To repent, take advantage of God's words to guide you and God's grace to help you change your thinking. When you change your thinking, your actions will change. And when you change your actions, your life and your lineage will change.
Most of our bad habits develop from being stuck in our thinking. Have you ever noticed that when you meet up with a certain person, they sometimes sing the same song over and over and over? Some of the Top 10 reruns are "My Husband Hurt Me 10 Years Ago So Why Try?", "I Was Fired Unjustly" and "It's All Their Fault".
To move into joy, peace and happiness we have to change our thinking. Leave the past behind and use the present moment for a new chance, a new beginning, a do-over. If you are having a problem or feeling guilty that you are sinful, the best way to correct it is to be merciful to others.
With some practice in being boundlessly compassionate, we begin to experience the mercy of God from morning to night. You will be caught-up in the joy of life and take your place as a building block of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.