It’s that bonus time of year at gyms all over the country as people the length and breadth of Britain resolve to get fit in the new year and buy a year’s membership and then visit the place three times. If they knew that gymnasium was derived from the Greek word for a place to exercise naked they would be even less keen to return. In the UK the naked part has been dropped, but that does not help people to keep up their membership.
According to a ComRes poll by BUPA shown in the Guardian in December 2015, 36% of people said they did not intend to make a resolution. Another survey about what resolutions had been made showed the same number.36% actually resolved to do anything. Over 40% who said they were going to make a resolution failed to make one. Of those who do make resolutions, most do not last 3 weeks. The failure rate really is that high. With New Year’s resolutions once it is broken it is broken. There’s no second chance.
At least New Year’s resolutions are once a year. With Christians it is weekly. We go to church. If it is a liturgical tradition we will confess our sins as part of the service. We do not like our sins: The burden of them is intolerable, as one old service puts it. We promise to turn over a new leaf and we do it weekly: How long does it last? Sometimes it is broken before we get out of the church door. Our resolution to God is soon broken.
There is a difference between our contract with God, our resolution to God and New Year’s resolutions. The New Year’s resolutions are contracts with ourselves, we do not intend to break them and we do not expect to break them. With God we do not intend to break them but God knows that we will break them, and break them over and over again. O wretched man that i am said Saint Paul in Romans Chapter 7. Like us he intended to keep his contract with God, and like us he was constantly failing.
We mess, we confess
We will fail. People say that God is the God of second chances, but they are wrong, God is the God of an infinite number of chances: We mess, we confess, God forgives. Over and over again. There is no end to God’s forgiveness. There will be no thunderbolt from Heaven on the 8th time we mess up, or on the 491st. God’s forgiveness is as large as his love; both are infinite.
So come to God with what you have done admit it and god will forgive. You mess, you confess, God forgives. It is as simple as that.
Happy New Year.