This morning I did an assembly in one of our local junior schools on “The Chance to Start Again”:
We all make mistakes. It’s one thing we can be sure of – not one of us is perfect – we all make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes can make us feel so silly and so bad.
And I’ve got a couple of little stories of people who must have felt just like that.
- There was a lady who was really shocked to find 2 teeth in a family sized bar of Cadburys Dairy Milk Chocolate. She wrote to Cadburys and complained and got her story in the national newspapers. A couple of weeks later she went for her usual checkup at the dentist and was shocked to be told that 2 of her back teeth were missing! She felt such a fool.
- There was a man, originally from London, but had lived in Australia for 30 years. He decided that it was time for him to return to Britain to search for his long lost brother. So, he came home to London only to discover his brother had emigrated – to Australia!!
We all do things at times that make us feel like we have failed – got it wrong really badly. Sometimes these are silly things, mistakes we could have avoided. For example, in tests or exams we sometimes go wrong because we don’t read the question properly. I remember reading about a boy who was asked in a science exam “what is the boiling point of water”. His answer was “the point of boiling water is to make a cup of tea”
These stories all show that we can all make silly mistakes. And when we do we probably wish we could turn the clock back and then next time not make the same mistake. It’s horrible when things like that happen – we feel silly, a failure.
I want to tell you another story. It’s about a man called Peter. He felt a failure. He had let his best friend down – someone who would never let him down. His friend was arrested and ended up being killed for a crime he didn’t do.
Peter was so miserable and felt a complete failure. To make things worse he had even run away and pretended he didn’t even know his best friend. He just thought about himself and saving his own skin.
Then, in what seemed like a dream – but it wasn’t – he met his friend again. And his friend said “It’s OK. I forgive you. You can start again. Come on, this is what I want you to do…….” And that young man Peter went on to become one of the world’s greatest leaders, eventually dying for the cause his best friend died for.
And the name of Peter’s best friend – JESUS.
So, remember this: Even if you’ve made mistakes, if you feel you’ve failed, you can start again. This is important in school as well as the rest of your life.
Now is a good time to start again, to have a fresh start, to forget about mistakes you might have made in the past. It’s a good time to wipe the slate clean and start again with a promise to yourself that you are going to do your best at everything.
I am a Christian and as a Christian I believe that in an amazing way God does exactly that for people who come to him and admit they have made mistakes and want to start again.
Peter knew he couldn’t just rub out what he’d done but he knew that he was forgiven. That meant he was free to start again and free to begin living the way God wanted.
I believe as a Christian that we can do that too. We can say sorry to God for all the wrong things we have done or said or thought and ask him to forgive us and begin to live the way he wants us to.