If you spend any time around young children you know how fiercely they cling to the idea of getting a “do-over.” It’s one of the fundamentals of play – you practice, experiment, repeat until you master the game.
Getting a “do-over” means that you get to start fresh. In golf it’s called a Mulligan – a chance to re-play a particularly awful shot. While some consider it cheating, the Mulligan or the do-over are excellent ways to keep a game balanced when you have players of varying skill levels. Like the handicap – strokes subtracted from a player’s score – judicious use of the do-over helps level the playing field a bit.
You can probably connect the dots here and see how this is leading to a discussion about God’s grace. While there are some important differences between the Biblical doctrine of grace and a “Mulligan” there are some similarities. Teenagers in particular need adults and their peers to give them a do-over now and then. Developmentally they are wired to experiment and try new things. Naturally they are going to fail and sometimes they might even screw-up big time.
Being part of an active youth group is a great way to help kids get a do-over. It might be the one place they can turn to after making a poor choice (friends, drugs, hair color) and know that they can re-set and start fresh. God’s grace is what gives us the power to give some kids a Mulligan time after time.
So let’s here it for the “do-over”, for bending the rules and for second chances. In the long run it makes the game a lot more fun.