Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"Help, I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!"

Well, I'm keeping my red Chiefs sweatshirt in the drawer this week. It's been a rough week to be a KC fan. Last Sunday at Arrowhead not only did the Chiefs lose (again), but at least some of the fans embarrassed the whole city by their ugly, unsportsmanlike behavior. Apparently, when quarterback Matt Cassel was knocked to the turf with a concussion, a high percentage of the fans present cheered his injury. They were unhappy with his poor play and rejoiced when he was knocked out of the game. That's right, the home crowd cheered when their own team's player was hurt, lying flat on the field.

At just about the same time Sunday afternoon, the Redskins fans here in DC saw Robert Griffin III take a vicious though clean hit also resulting in a concussion. But for RG3 there was nothing but cheers, concern, and warm wishes from the Redskins faithful.

I was struck by these two contrasting scenarios. What made the difference? Well, not to over-analyze this, but it seems to me the difference is the player's performance. RG3 has been playing pretty well, especially for a rookie, and Matt Cassel has been playing pretty lousy, especially for a veteran. Football fans care about performance, touchdowns, who wins and who loses. Everyone loves a winner and nobody likes a loser.

And, much of life works out the same way, doesn't it? It's all about performance. People only have value if they can get done what we need to get done. Otherwise, who needs them? They're useless and disposable. Get rid of them.

Aren't you glad that God's love for us is not based on whether or not we can perform up to His standards? Where would we be if God took a hardline approach with our weaknesses and failures? And what about the fellowship of the church? Where would we be without the grace of God for our own shortcomings and for those around us?

So cheer for your team loud and long. You can even set the bar high for your million dollar heroes. But have a little grace and compassion in victory or defeat, for your home team and for your opponent. Remember, the grace that forgives your fumbles and failures is grace freely given, whatever color jersey you may wear.

Someone let you down this week? Somebody drop the ball that you were counting on them to carry? Don't write them off. Give him or her a break. A hand up and a pat on the back might just get them back in the game.

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