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Live Life Well - Give Lots of Mulligans by David Herbertson, July 16, 2017

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So, how is your golf game?  You say that you don’t play golf or really know much about it.  Well that’s OK because this article is not so much about golf but since I play about five times a week and my game is in the tank (not playing well) I began to think about mulligans. 

Mulligan: A mulligan is a second chance to perform an action, usually after the first chance went wrong through bad luck or a blunder. Its best-known meaning is in golf whereby a player is informally allowed to replay a stroke, even though this is against the formal rules of golf. The term has also been applied to other sports and games, and to other fields generally. The origin of the term is unclear. - Mulligan (games) - Wikipedia

 

Mulligan is a term that golfers use when someone allows you to hit the shot again after you hit it in the lake or out of bounds.  It is a do-over and he doesn’t count the bad shot against you.  The way I have been playing lately I was wishing that someone would give me a mulligan now and then.

 

Mulligans are normally used for beginners.  Like when you try to teach your son or daughter or grandchild how to play golf.  You tee it up for them and they swing and only hit it a few feet off the tee.  You tee it up again and again and again and let them swing until they hit one in the air and somewhere down the fairway.  And then you tell them what a great shot they made and encourage them to keep practicing and they will get even better.

 

What fun it was to see our children and grandchildren begin learning and to see them in their first team uniform.  In baseball, this learning time was called T-Ball.  To be good at anything requires practice.

 

Mulligans don’t automatically mean that the next shot attempt will be better than the last.  Sometimes it is worse than the first attempt.  When you give mulligans, it is with hope that they will improve as they practice more.  Getting second chances are good things in life.  Practice is the method we use to improve.

 

Another definition of mulligan is forgiveness.  God is the ultimate mulligan giver.  He has forgiven me for all my past failures and sins and gave me a do-over, a new start, not counting the past failures and poor efforts against me.  Each day that I live can be counted as a mulligan with the opportunity to improve and grow more Christlike in my character.

 

 I Timothy 4:7-8… train yourself to be Godly.  The very best way to train yourself to be Godly is to spend time every day with God through Bible reading and prayer.

 

Have you ever experienced a day when everything was going along fine and then someone said something that made you angry and ruined the entire day?  Perhaps in that heated exchange you blurted out some words that really hurt someone and you wished for years that you had never said that.  You need a mulligan.  A do-over.  A new beginning in a broken relationship.

Sometimes in a heated argument, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and close friends say things they later regret.  The result can be one or both individuals harboring unforgiveness and resentment.  It often gets to the point that these close relationships end up with people never speaking to each other again.  What a tragedy. 

 

Golf is just a game.  If you spell it backwards it spells FLOG.  Just one bad shot sometimes escalates into a bad score on the golf course.  Just one heated argument can ruin a relationship forever.  No one likes to go thru life being flogged.  Flogging is punishment and it does not feel good at the time it happens.  Holding onto hurt feelings and not being able to forgive others is punishment.  But if we can learn to give mulligans (forgiveness) to those that hurt us we will begin to experience real peace in our lives.

 

So, how many mulligans do I have to give someone who continues to hurt me?  Here is the answer.

 

Matthew 18: 21-22, Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?  Up to seven times?”  Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

 

Mulligans work two ways.  Sometimes you need to humble yourself and ask someone for a mulligan by telling them you are sorry for what you said or did to them.  You ask for a mulligan –a do-over—a new start and if they accept your sincere apology a strained relationship can be healed. 

 

The second way is that you need to be the one giving mulligans to others.  Looking past their mistakes and sometimes horrible decisions and be willing to give them a second or third or multiple opportunities to get it right.  This is not easy to do.  But God commands us to forgive others. (Mark 11:26)

 

God will always accept a request for forgiveness from a sincere heart and give us a clean slate and a new life that can be filled with peace and joy as our character becomes more and more like His.

 

People are not always like God.  Many decide that they will never forgive someone and they hold onto their grudges and hurt feelings and stay angry and seek revenge.  In so doing they live lives without peace and without God.

 

I believe that the most friendly and happy people on this earth are those that make it a habit to give lots of mulligans.  Looking past those arguments and hurts of the past with a genuine desire to forgive others and start over.  It is never too late to try and mend a broken relationship.

 

Hebrews 12:14, Pursue peace with all men, and holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

 

Live life well—Practice forgiveness--Give lots of mulligans!

dherbertson@att.net

 

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