By Dr. John Ed Mathison
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries
Everybody makes mistakes. Every mistake always has a consequence. The bigger the mistake, the bigger the consequence. But is there hope to change after encountering the consequences?
Let me tell you about Joel Sweeney. He lives in River Falls, Wisconsin, and he has had eight drunk-driving infractions. He has had three near-death experiences and spent three years in jail. He made bad choices, and he suffered bad consequences. But somebody talked to Sweeney about changing his life. Could he be different? Sweeney made a conscious decision to change direction for his life. Since 2013, he has been the town’s designated driver. He gives free rides to people when they leave the bars.
He has become so effective in his new lifestyle that he now owns four SUVs and hires other drivers when he is too busy. Sweeney confesses, “I was an awful person. This is my way of saying I’m sorry to my community. I was looking for a change in life, and this was it.” That is a turn around. Chernobyl was a terrible experience. It caused a lot of people to suffer a lot of bad consequences. The radioactive “exclusion zone” made it a place of death and deformity.
But scientists are now reporting that even the area around Chernobyl is changing. It is teeming with wildlife, including elk, deer, wild boar, and wolves. It even rivals the world’s most abundant nature preserves. It has changed. It is different. Life can be different. The Bible teaches us that each of us has sinned, but sin does not have to always be the dominating force in our life. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). He will give us a new chance in life.
Paul is an example of the hope that a person can turn around. He did everything wrong in life until God changed him. He says, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (NLT II Cor. 5:17)
David made terrible mistakes in his life. He committed adultery and murder. But those were not his legacy. He confessed his sin, and his life was dramatically changed. Read II Samuel 11, 12. He became a great leader. In Psalm 51, David says, “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow (v.7). Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me (v. 10). Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you (v. 12). Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you (v. 13).”
If you live with mistakes, they will ruin you. If you are willing to ask God to help you change your mistakes, He can take your mess and make a message out of it. We experience a new year every January 1.
Any person can experience a new you on any day of the year!
Happy New You!
John Ed’s blog posts appear on For His Glory each week.
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