Monday, January 08, 2007

Uh-oh...



Todd and John were glued to football playoff action on Saturday night. I knew my vote for a Hallmark Classic was going nowhere, so I slipped into the computer room to catch up on a little writing. Then around 10:30, I heard this primal clamor coming from the other room. It sounded like "Oh, NO!" in desperate, gutteral unison. I figured the sky was falling, the chip bowl was empty, or the Dallas Cowboys were going down. I don't care much for football, but I do enjoy drama. So I sprinted into the TV room to get the scoop.

"The quarterback messed up!" John wailed.

"That's the season," Todd said.

The boo-hoo vibrations were almost palpable.

"Well, shucks," I said, sensing straight away I'd failed to convey the appropriate measure of sympathy befitting this manly upset. "Gee whiz,"I chirped, "more chips, anyone?"

They were too bereaved to eat. So I left them with what remained of their sad, sad show. "The Hallmark programs are tender, but never so depressing," I offered, helping myself to a few crumbly Tostito remnants.

The next morning at breakfast, I thought it would be nice if I followed up.

"So, John," I asked, "about last night... was the quarterback having a bad game?"

"No," he replied, "he was having a great game... just a bad moment."

In a flash, my thoughts turned from football to humanity. And all the people who have led otherwise decent lives only to "blow it" somehow in an instant. And how we tend to lock onto the bad and forget the good.

The headline on MSNBC.com on Sunday morning was "Cowboys QB Blows It." He had a good game, on balance. But one slip at a critical moment collapsed the season.

If Jesus were writing the headlines, you have to wonder what He would say about a costly moment of failure. Would His words be spiteful? Would He shake his head in disgust and set out to find some winners to adore? I think not.

I must confess I do have a place in my heart for Oklahoma University. I was born in Oklahoma and it was there that my dad received his Master's Degree. So I actually stayed in the same room as the television last week when OU played Boise State.

Near the end of a tight game, the Boise State quarterback threw an interception that allowed OU to get on top with just over a minute left in regulation play. The Boise State quarterback took what must have felt like a death march back to the sidelines and who knows what was going on in the field. Because every camera and every eye was trained on him. In an instant, he went from talented, bold quarterback staring down the giants... to one who blew it.

The ending of the story was a good one for that quarterback, however. He shook off the doom, played brilliantly in a game that lapsed into over-time, and Boise State won the game. So we all forgave him. He was redeemed by his works.

Consider what we have in Christ. We can blow it, as we do from time to time, and be free of bitter recrimination. We are not defined by our sins, but by our relationship with Him. Jesus isn't writing headlines about our slips and skids or tapping His mighty foot anxiously waiting for us to work our way to a state of redemption. Christ loves you no matter what. His headline for your life is not: "Mary Jane really messed up at 6:32 p.m. on May 14, 2006." Instead, it's something like this: "She is my child and I will always love her." On good days, bad days and every day in between.

Are you unsure of where you are with Christ? Please check out the series of posts on the gospel message that appeared last week. There's no better place to be than with Christ.

(Photo by rev bri; see http://flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=30934454&size=m for restrictions.)

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