Are You Ready For a New Start?

“I wanna start again.”

Do you ever feel that way?  Annie did.  Not the Annie with red hair that was an orphan on the big screen in 1982.  I’m talking about the Annie that was a foster-kid with dark hair in the recent Will Smith production.

My wife and I celebrated her birthday on a recent Tuesday, with a date at a fancy movie theater in Indianapolis that brings food to your seat as you recline in plush leather.  We sipped our frozen hot chocolate and enjoyed the revamped creation also known as ‘Annie.’  Very clean.  Very musical.  And what a great message for this time of year when we all are looking to make resolutions about how we can improve ourselves in 2015.

‘I wanna start again.’  Annie sang it.  So did the man who took her in as a foster child.  So did the woman who was looking for love, in romance, as well as in motherhood.

All three had been hurt.  Each one had made mistakes.  A desire burned to flip the calendar over and begin anew.

So many times in the Bible, we see examples of individuals and entire tribes that simply want a new start.  And so many times we see that desire granted.

David after the affair.

Jonah after being eaten by a giant fish.

The woman caught in the act of adultery, thrown at Jesus feet.

Her story is my favorite.  The teachers of the law finally had their chance to catch Jesus.  They gave him an ethical problem with just two choices.

1. Condemn the woman and sentence her to death, which was commanded by Jewish law (as every ‘righteous’ Jew knew and followed).

2. Offer forgiveness and ignore the very law that He claimed to stand for and abide by, rule for rule.

Except, He didn’t answer their questions.  He took that test and put in on the dirty ground and marked out both options, only to write His own question to those teachers.  It was a statement, but make no mistake, it was a question.  It pierced their hearts, their very souls.

“He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” (John 8:7)

This time, they were stuck.  One by one, they dropped their stones and went away.

The conversation that followed grips me. It was as true for that woman, half naked in the middle of a busy street, as it is for me and you today.

“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

“I wanna start again.”

I do.  Do you?  Jesus tells us we can if we turn from our mistakes, no matter how many times they have tripped us up, and follow Him.

It’s time to start again.