This is the second sports-analogy post in a month, I have broken my own blog rules twice.
World Cup soccer is probably a bigger deal to us immigrant types who now reside in the US than the average American population. Notably the rest of the world has literally come to a grinding halt while the games were played. Soccer truly has a power far beyond the ball.
If you happened to catch the final yesterday you had to see the foul that will remain the talk of the soccer world for years. A French player, literally head butt one of the Italian players in the mid torso for no apparent reason besides perhaps reaction to some sport trash talk. The jury is still out on the reasons behind the behavior and some interesting factoid may arise, but nothing that would warrant such a thing. This was not just any player either, it was a legend. A hero to millions of kids. One of the all time greats. His retirement is marked with a game ejection and the world looking on in disbelief.
It got me thinking about how I treat people. How I handle their hearts. While my actions are appropriate, are my words headers to the heart? When I walk off the field for the day, have I left chaos in my wake or have I been able to pour soothing oil over the broken? Have my judgments disguised as concern ripped into already hurt souls. Have my intentions and motives been checked so that what I say and do reflect the one to whom I direct my praise?
Here is the main difference between what I saw yesterday on TV and my life in Christ. Even when I do not conduct myself in the way He desires, God does not eject me from the game, ever, no matter what the situation. I am never out of chances and I can not foul out the game. That's already covered by the gift of blood that He gave. And the best part is so counter cultural that its hard to explain. Because of the blood, I don't really want to foul anymore. I want to play hard but well. I want to live up to His reputation. I want to represent the team well. I want to ache when I think that my words or actions were headers to the heart of another.