I think that just about all of us at one time wish we had a magic rewind button so we could go back and change something in the past. For some people it’s a fateful decision – “I should have stayed in school instead of getting married so young”; “If only I hadn’t said those things”; “I should never have gotten behind the wheel of that car.” For others it’s events beyond their control – “I wish my mom hadn’t died when I was a kid”; “My parents should have stayed together”; “If I hadn’t gotten sick.” For still others it’s the road not taken – “I should have said yes”; “I should have told dad I wanted to be a teacher instead of going into the business”; “I wonder if I would have ever been successful if I had tried.”
Personally, I would give just about anything – years of my life, possessions, the hair that’s starting to grow back, for such a button. Sadly there isn’t one. For me, it isn’t a decision or an incident that I would change, but an attitude. An attitude that caused seemingly irreparable harm. I say “seemingly” because nothing is impossible with God.
I would use my rewind button to go back and change the attitude I had that I needed to gain God’s approval by doing the right things, and by extension, having church people approve of me. This attitude led me to force church and the Bible at my daughter in such a distasteful way that now as a young adult she wants nothing to do with any of it. (Hey, even chocolate will make you gag if you’re force-fed it.) Church was a place to go and “sit still and be quiet and behave. And read your Bible.” Not surprisingly, she didn’t like it. Family devotions, another good idea in theory, became a battle of wills. The Bible was used to “prove” I was right, instead of to teach and uplift. And well-meaning church friends encouraged me to be firmer and not give in, because it was important to establish who was the authority in the home. Instead, what was established were battle lines, and even now that my daughter and I have a much better relationship, her understanding of God is still distorted and damaged because mine was.
I wish so much I could go back and show her much more than tell her, that God loves and accepts her. That Jesus died to be her Savior because she (and I) could never be good enough, and that the only reason to be good was out of love for him, not out of guilt or fear or rule-keeping. That there is so much joy and peace and lightness and ease in living without all the pressure of the rules for rules’ sake – and that it’s easy to live for Jesus’ sake when it’s done out of love. I wish she could grow up learning this, not by lecture and discipline and nagging, but by example and osmosis. I wish she could feel loved and accepted more than criticized and condemned. I wish she knew how much God loves her by knowing how much I love her.
If anybody ever finds that rewind button, please, please let me know. I really want it.
Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” Mark 10:27