This is Faith in Play #46: Undo, for September 2021.
I was folding laundry, and as I picked up a lab jacket I realized that one of the sleeves was inside out. I pushed my hand down a sleeve, grabbed the cuff, and reversed it—only to realize that now both sleeves were inside out, as I had fixed the wrong one.
Somewhere in my brain something said, “Press control+Z to undo that.”
I think in life we’d often like an undo function: push two buttons and the last thing we did vanishes as if it never happened. There is a sense in which that’s not the way life is. Even in games we have to play forward—once you take your hands off the chess piece, that’s your move. The words “no take backs” come into my mind, even though I’m not sure to what they applied.
Those are true words. We often say things we regret, and wish we could undo having said them. We make mistakes, and have no simple way to correct them.
The fact is, though, that we do have a way to undo our errors—it’s called forgiveness, and is available through Jesus Christ from God. The cute definition that says “justified” means “JUST as IF I’D never sinned” is more than just a cute mnemonic; it’s a significant truth, that God removes our sin from us as far as the east is from the west, cleansing us, making us whole. We have an undo function. It’s called confession.
Such a thing rarely appears in games—but I have been in games in which players have been granted a “do-over,” permission to undo the move they just made and try again. Such opportunities are illustrative of grace, that God erases our failures and gives us new lives.
Unfortunately, in games, and in life, we very well may fail again. Fortunately, in life, the undo button always works no matter how many times we fail.