Hollywood has spoiled us. The movies we watch seem perfect. While the characters in the story make mistakes, we never see all the retakes done by the actors in the released film.
Absent from final production is all the second guessing that is done after a “take” is made. We never see the producers saying, “How can we make this better?” “What could we have done differently?” “What if this were changed?”
In “real life” there are no retakes; no going back and doing things differently. Even though we may often say, “This is how I would have done it differently;” we can only do it different the next time.
To hold our fellow citizens responsible for doing something incorrectly because, after the fact, new information is obtained, is not being just with that individual. We can all do things better. We learn from experience; having “already done it at least once.”
The Bible is full of examples of people doing things which should have been done differently. However, history cannot be changed, but we can read of their experiences and do things differently.
In looking at the disciples of Jesus, it is often said, “They should have known better.” Or, “If I had been there, I would have done things differently.” But, we have forgotten some things. We know the rest of the story; they were living in “real time.” They would probably agree they should have done things differently, but there are no retakes in life.
It is very evident Judas wished he had not “sold out” Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Equally evident is Peter’s regret that he betrayed Jesus. They could not do a “retake.” They could only ask for forgiveness for what had been done and go on with life.
Peter did that, but Judas did not. Peter learned from his mistake and corrected it. Paul is another example. He could not “retake” the persecution he inflicted upon Christians before he became a Christian. The only thing he could do was forget “what lies behind and [reach] forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13). He obtained Jesus’ forgiveness for his actions, but he never could go back and “do it over.”
Let’s be kind to others as well as ourselves. Let’s remember that we have to make decisions based upon the information we have at the time, not what’s available five minutes from now, five weeks from now or even five years from now.
We can forgive others for what they have done; we can be forgiven for what we have done. In this life retakes are not possible; we only get one “take.” Let’s make sure it is living God’s way.
Carlton G. McPeak is an evangelist working in the Florida Gateway region. All Scriptural quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Holman Bible Publishers, unless otherwise stated. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.