With a second lockdown now in place, you might feel we are back to where we started last March. The phrase “back to square one” comes to mind.

There is some confusion about the origin of this phrase. It was used by radio sports commentators in the 1930’s to help listeners follow the progress of a football match where the pitch was divided into numbered squares. More commonly it is thought the phrase originated from board games like Snakes and Ladders where the player ended up back at the beginning.

Whatever its origin, when we use the phrase we usually mean that we’re back to where we started with no progress and that’s not a good thing!

But if things have gone badly, then going back to square one and starting again could be a good thing. The Bible tells us that however badly things have gone for us, God is willing to give us an opportunity for a fresh new start. If we are sorry for what we have done wrong, God will forgive us and let us start again. We can go back to square one, our wrongdoing forgotten, and we can begin again with a clean sheet. Surely that is a good thing!

This is made clear in the gospel of John where we read that:

If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1 v 9)