Here we go! It is World Series time and as I prepare to deal with either the joy of my beloved Red Sox winning the championship or the agony of watching them tuning up their second fiddle, it is with great excitement that I anticipate a great series and a deserving championship crown to be placed atop the victor, whomever it may be. You see, the joy of writing a blog such as this, is that I can easily find reason to celebrate the victory for either team, based on the amazing stories I read of the believers on each team. And while I openly declare that my preference would be to see the Red Sox win for the third time in the last ten years, it is awfully hard to cheer against the many Christ- followers that play for the Cardinals.
But in an effort to sway you, O dear reader, I present the joy that it would bring to the city of Boston to see the Red Sox crowned the champs. April 2013 will be remembered in Massachussetts because life in Beantown changed dramatically when two bombs rocked the Boston Marathon thereby ensuring that the 2013 running of the race would not simply blend into the landscape of all the other Boston Marathons. It will, instead, live on in infamy as it was the day of the “Boston Bombing”. These bombs killed three and injured many more and led to a huge manhunt where eventually the two culprits were found, one killed in the process. There was a lot of hurt and anger in the city at that time.
It is easy, in cases of senseless violence like this, to get angry and demand justice for the pain and agony caused. We are quick to condemn and demand payback. But Jesus, when he was here, gave us a different standard to strive for. He told us in Matthew 5.43-48 t0… Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you. It is very easy to hold a grudge. It is easy to pay lip service, claiming to forgive, yet holding on to our feelings of hurt, betrayal or pain caused by another. Jesus knew this. He would know betrayal more than most when even his closest friends would abandon him and deny knowing Him. And yet his challenge is to forgive those who hurt you or make life miserable for you. He demonstrated this in the cross when he plead for the forgiveness of all who “know not what they do”
A few months back, I wrote a post about Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia – you can read it here. Saltalamacchia was one of the featured Christ-followers in a piece by Christian Broadcast Network in the aftermath of the attacks. Check it out.
In this video, those interviewed, say that the best option is to forgive those responsible. If we are truly going to live a life that honors God and reflects Him to those around us, then we need to be ready to forgive even those who do the most selfish and awful acts. God offers love and forgiveness ALL who need it. If we hold on to our anger and seek revenge, not only do we fail to show a true representation of who God really is, we imprison ourselves in these feeling of anger that affect every aspect of our lives. Jesus offers forgiveness to each of us for all the mistakes and bad things that we have said, done or thought. He offers the same grace, like it or not, to the ones we would consider the worst among us. Why? Because He loved and died for them too, that their sins may be forgiven and that they may know the One true God! We must remember that our sin separated us from God just like theirs does. He calls us to remember the forgiveness we received and to show the same love and forgiveness to others, too.
If we are “all in” for God, that means that we allow the attitudes of God to overtake our own. His love is to be shown to even the most undeserving because that is what defines the depth of God’s love. The only way that we are able to forgive others for what they’ve done and love them in spite of it is by surrendering our lives to Him.
God offers love to everyone, even the ones that we see as unlovable, and he pleads with them to come to know Him. His forgiveness in spite what we have done is where our hope can be found.
As I enjoy the World series, I know I’ll be challenged by these thoughts – let’s be a loving, forgiving representation of the God who offers forgiveness and love to all!