On Friday, I presented a model of thinking about discipleship whereby Jesus is a series of doors you walk through, and I think we all understand this idea. After all, every opportunity is an "open door."
The problem with most of those doors is that they lock behind you. That's what makes this journey called "life" so difficult sometimes.
We know it better as regret. It's all those decisions you wish you never would have made, all those moments you wish you could take back. People you've hurt. Wrong turns you've made. Moments when you've followed your flesh instead of your heart.
I've got to tell you - there are moments in my life I wish I could go back and choose something different. But every time I try, those doors are locked from the place I stepped through them. There are ways, painful ways, to push your way through but that's not really the way to go about it. That's just violence. It's loud. It's forceful. And the last way you want to go back into a broken moment is like a gale force wind. You're just going to break it more.
Yet it's agony, because at some point, you start to step through the door of Christ and realize all the mistakes you made and it eats at your heart. There are people you want to apologize to. Friends you want to make. Relationships you long to restore. There are jobs you wish you'd taken and some you wish you hadn't. There are moves you made that you shouldn't have, and some you didn't but probably should. There are all of these seemingly tiny things that have led you to a place where you don't want to be, and if you only knew then what you know now...
But those doors are closed. Locked. Dead-bolted. And cemented over.
There is a way, though. A slow, deliberate, agonizing way. And that way is this: take another step forward.
In this moment, choose to walk through the door of Christ amid all these doors. Then walk through the door of Christ again. And again. Until you find yourself choosing Christ again and again without so much thinking. No, He doesn't take you back to your broken moments; it still doesn't work that way. But He brings you to healing ones. He brings you to an opportunity to choose differently.
He brings you to a place where reconciliation is one step away, where all you have to do is choose humility and step into the broken relationship in a new way. He brings you to a place where you get to decide if what you're doing is what you should be doing or if you're called to something more. He brings you to a place where, if you so choose, you can step away from what you stepped into and start walking toward something else. He brings you to a place where there is grace, and there is forgiveness, and all you have to do is choose it.
You don't have to choose it. It's not an easy choice. It doesn't look like it's the same choice you once had, and it's not. This time, it takes humility. It takes stepping down from what you now know and admitting that you didn't know it when you needed to. It takes apologizing, and asking for forgiveness. It takes forgiving. It takes letting your broken moment break you all over again so that you can have this one. It's not everything you'd ever hoped it would be.
It is more.
The doors of this world will lock behind you, every time you step through them. So many of us spend our time beating down the backsides of the doors, trying to go back, trying to take it back, longing for a way to make a different choice. It doesn't work that way; you can't go back. This world will not let you go back. But you can make a different choice.
You can choose today Jesus. And then choose Him again. And yet one more time. And again and again until unexpectedly, He brings you around to a place where you can find healing for that broken place.
And then choose healing.