John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

A Do-Over for the New Year

2004 -- like every other year of my life -- was filled with highs and lows. One thing I've learned to count on is this unrelenting law of undulation. Life on this planet is always going to be a mixed bag until Jesus comes back to turn everything rightside-up again. Until that happens, we struggle, we grow, we dimish. Sometimes we gain ground; sometimes we fall back.

But 2004 seems to have held an extra measure of hardships for many of the people close to me. Now, added to the mounting losses in Iraq comes the unimaginable tragedy taking place in Asia. All this on top of the death and destruction that is so commonplace it doesn't make the news anymore -- places like Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Vietnam (where 280 Christians were murdered in April).

Maybe a new year is exactly what we need. Start the counter over again at zero. Wipe the slate clean. Get some space to work.

Wouldn't it be nice if, when the clock strikes midnight tonight, we all got took one big do-over?

Hey, here's an idea: Justice must be served. I'm not trying to say we should turn a blind eye and excuse the really bad guys. But...what if we decided to give people a do-over for the new year. I'm talking about that guy in your office who said that one thing that one time. Haven't you held onto that long enough? Give him a do-over. And your spouse. And your kids. Your parents. Give them all a do-over, another chance, a get-out-of-jail-free card.

How about this: Give yourself a do-over. Sure, you screwed up a bunch in 2004, but it's a new year. 2005 offers you another shot. You'll probably mess up something this year, too. But the last thing you need is to drag a bunch of baggage into the new year with you.