I had the pleasure and privilege of golfing Pebble Beach. Spectacular scenery, challenging holes: an incredible experience. And, you know what? I shot par. Yup, I shot par at Pebble Beach.
Pretty amazing eh?
Now, before you go thinking that I am an amazing golfer I need to tell you more of the story. I didn't play Pebble Beach at Pebble Beach. I played Pebble Beach at a hotel in Seattle - on their golf simulator. You hit off of artificial grass towards a huge video screen that projects computer graphics of the course. The computer is able to calculate the distance and direction of your shot as you watch the trajectory of your ball on the screen. Your ball lands, you check the hole coordinates on the screen, pick a club and hit again.
There was one other part of the computer simulation that was particularly helpful for me to shoot par. It's called the Mulligan button. After every shot I had the choice of keeping my shot, or pressing the Mulligan button and shooting another shot. I loved that button. I must have pressed that button over 100 times. I would hit a shot that I wasn't pleased with, press Mulligan, adjust my grip, my stance, my angle, and then hit again.
As I was doing this I began to think that this is like repentance. In life I do something that isn't good - my shot goes astray. So, I ask the Lord to forgive me and to help me to change. Then I take some sort of action to ensure that the next time I "hit that shot" I get a better outcome. You see, we are called to a life of repentance. Repentance is a daily choice - a daily gift from the Lord to start again.
Sadly, many people have a negative perception of the word "repent". It can feel like someone is pointing a finger of condemnation at us.
Jesus doesn't condemn us. Scripture tells us that He didn't come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. Repentance is our opportunity to simply say, "Yes, I want a new start." I want a divine do-over, a spiritual start-again, a miraculous mulligan.
And, this is not a one-time offer. We are invited to live a life of repentance. We can choose to live with an ongoing attitude to lay aside the sin that trips us up and press on toward God's heart for us. We are not perfect, and are not going to be this side of heaven. Admit your ‘sin', repent and embrace the grace that God has for you.
Your sin does not disqualify you, only your pride will because that is what stops you from repenting and receiving God's forgiveness and grace. Let's choose humility, freely admit and confess our sin so we can receive God's gift of life and grace.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."