Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
As you likely know, if you've been reading through these posts over the past several months, I thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to coach my son’s baseball team and my daughter’s softball team. While coaching baseball or softball, you are inevitably going to watch a few mishaps. This is especially true when you are coaching young children who are just learning how to play the game; but it is also true when you are watching the professionals play. Even the best of players will have an error. Even the most impressive hitters will strike out. However, what is most important when such miscues happen is how quickly the player moves on. They can’t sit and sulk after a swing-and-a-miss. They can’t beat themselves up over a botched play. They have to move on. They must turn the page. Quickly. They must leave the miscues in the past so they can focus on the next pitch or the next play. And they certainly cannot allow themselves to be defined by their misfortune.
That truth about baseball is the truth about life: Errors are part of the rigorous truth of being human. But they do not define or distort who we are as baptized children of God. This is the heart of our Red Letter theme for the week—forgiveness. We all know that we are bound to make a mistake from time-to-time. This is the reality of sin. We all fall short of the glory of God—no matter how many seasons we’ve been in the league. Errors are part of life. No one can follow the rules perfectly. So, the question then becomes how do we respond when people – when we – commit errors? We cherish the incredible promises of scripture—that we have a God who is “faithful and just, and promises to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) God tells us that we are not defined by our sins, but by His grace. We are not defined by our failures, but by His faithfulness. We are not defined by our errors, but by His redeeming love. No dropped shoulders or hanging heads—our posture is one of thanksgiving and praise. We can wipe off the dirt and the shame or embarrassment of our mistakes and move on—because we are loved and treasured by our God. This is a great quote from our Red Letter reading, “THERE IS NO SIN TOO BIG THAT GOD DID NOT DIE FOR ON THE CROSS.” What wonderful words those are! Jesus died on the cross for ALL our sins! Not just some. He didn’t die for just the “little” sins. Or, for that matter, the BIG sins. He died for ALL of them! Every fielding error. Every dropped flyball. Every overthrow. Every strikeout.
“No matter what I do on the baseball field, no matter how hard I try to be a good player, or a good husband, or a good father… I can never do enough. I can never be perfect in this world. But God is there to tell me that it’s not what you do, it is whom you believe in, and I believe in Him who loves me.” (Mark Teixeira, former Yankee first baseman)
“Every time I pray, I ask for forgiveness. I’m a sinner. I sin every single day. But I do know that God loves me. I do know that God forgives me. It helps me in life because there’s nothing anyone can do to me that I can’t forgive them for.” (Mark Teixeira, former Yankee first baseman)
“Baseball is simply my platform to elevate Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.” (Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals)
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)
Pastor Steve Vera