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Across the Pastor’s Desk: Always an opportunity to start over

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Jill Marin

It’s never too late to start over. Sometimes, in life, we can see ourselves as beyond help, beyond redemption, beyond hope. We can get ourselves into messes, both small and large, which can overwhelm us and keep us stuck. We can be facing the consequences of our actions, which may be affecting us, our livelihood and our loved ones. My friend, there is hope.

Jill Marin

Paul, before he became one of the most powerful messengers for Christ of all time, was overseeing the murders of Christians. He had done horrendous things. As Saul, he was even on the road to deliver tortuous news when the Lord himself stopped him along the way (Acts 9). Paul stopped serving the other side, started serving Christ and impacted the world for the good ever since. He started over.

The woman who knelt at Jesus’ feet and washed his feet with her tears, and dried them with her hair, was well known in the area because of her sinful behaviors. She recognized Jesus as her deliverer, and she was unspeakably grateful. He said, “… I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven — as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little. Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’” Luke 7:47-48. Her great number of sins was forgiven, so she was able to love greatly. She started over.

The thief, hanging on the cross near Jesus, had made poor choices in life. He acknowledged his actions had led to his own consequences, and he acknowledged Jesus had done nothing wrong. “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’” Luke 23:43. Even though he knew he was in his last moments on earth, he recognized Christ for who he was, and gained eternal life. He started over.

Maybe, today, you are at a place of hopelessness, even despair. Your behaviors, or lack of them, have caused consequences that are uncomfortable and even painful. You know there is a better way. It’s time to take it. As our Bishop Frank Salas says, “No matter how many times we have failed before, God always gives us an opportunity to retake the test.” My friend, it’s your time to start over.

Jill Marin is a pastor at Grace Christian Church in Albert Lea.