Last week when I was sick I started playing a new card game on my friend’s laptop. It required just enough thought to occupy me, but not too much thought that I was still able to play with my congested, cold-medicine fog.
This game had a neat feature. It had an undo option. If you moved a card and then discovered you were at a dead end or that you didn’t like the card beneath, you could simply click “undo” and go back. Beautiful. At first I was quite pleased at this discovery and my success at the game increased.
But then something happened. The game lost meaning (as much meaning as a computer card game can have) and I felt like I was cheating. My choices didn’t matter. There was no “risk”. I didn’t have to think. I could just undo. I didn’t have to engage any faculties other than my index finger clicking over and over “undo”. Pointless.
In life I think we often wish there was an “undo” button. We say something stupid or heartless and click “undo”. We do something sinful or damaging and simply click “undo”. We make the wrong choice and ever so quickly we click “undo”. But in life there is no undo button.
When Adam and Eve sinned, when we sin, God doesn’t simply click a big undo button in the sky to erase what we’ve done. Why not? This would take away our freewill, our choice, our ability to think and engage our faculties, our ability to really live this life. It would take away all meaning. Nothing we do or didn’t do would matter. God could just click and undo.
Now clicking a button would be much easier on God. But it would leave us unable to truly love (freedom being a prerequisite for love). So what does he do instead? God finds another way. He sends his Son to die for our offenses.
In life there is no undo button. But we have something better. We have the Cross.
- It doesn’t erase our freedom. It wins it. We have true freedom from sin and death.
- It doesn’t take away our choices. It enables them. We have grace to choose the good and avoid the bad.
- It doesn’t reduce our ability to think and engage our faculties. It perfects them. We are “transformed by the renewal of our minds” and we can know the will of God! (Romans 12)
- It doesn’t diminish meaning or make choices pointless. It gives meaning to suffering and value to the “least of these”. (Matthew 25)
- It doesn’t keep us from really living life. It empowers us to live for something, for Someone, greater than ourselves.
No, Christ’s death on the Cross is not an undo button. It doesn’t go back or erase. It does more. It transforms us. It redeems us. It heals us. And we are better for it.
Through the Cross God says to us, “I love you enough to suffer the consequences of your sins so that you can be healed and transformed and in loving union with me!” Wow.
This Lent may we take some time to reflect on the Cross. Perhaps it is an image very familiar to us, but think about what it means. What has Christ won for you? How has Christ healed you? How has his death given you life?
And thank God there is no “undo” button. We have the power of the Cross instead.