Friday, May 25, 2012
Not my proudest day...
By way of background, my son is 9 years old and plays baseball. I have been enthusiastic with his participation as any parent would be. I have been supportive in his practices and have found time on occasion to assist him with one-on-one work. My son's team made it to the final 3 in a recent post season tournament. Joshua contributed to these wins by performing exceptionally well as catcher, and during one post season game, placing bat on ball and driving home a game winning RBI. During last evening's game, I had one of those moments where I became "that parent" and came down on my son after he sat motionless at the plate while each ball came by. "Strike one...", "strike two...", "strike three... you're out!". "Joshua!", I exclaimed. "You've got to swing at those balls son! Why did you just sit there? Don't you understand the importance of this game?" In my frustration, I kept at it until I saw a well spring of tears build up in his eyes. He fought the tears but my onslaught was relentless. You have to understand, my son is one of the kindest young boys you'll ever meet. It's this kind heart that makes sports a challenge at times. He enjoys playing sports because he enjoys playing sports. He doesn't have the eye of the tiger but in all honesty he plays the game like it probably should be; for fun and the enjoyment of it. Don't get me wrong, he enjoys the competition and works hard but he's not a fierce competitor. To see my kind boy crying because of the one hero he has in his life was disappointed in his performance got to the core of my being. I pulled Joshua out of the dug-out and gave him a big hug and apologized but at that moment the damage was already done. What kind of coward berates his son for something simple and then follows up his guilt with a hug? I was honestly remorseful, and if I could, I would trade this experience for relentless punishment in order to remove the hurt that I placed on young Joshua's heart. I tried to make it up by being supportive at the next at bat but I could tell it was too little too late. After the game I spoke to Joshua about my frustration and begged his forgiveness. With loving eyes he returned a glance, his eyes teared up a bit more and gave me a hug. "That's ok, daddy..." Wow, what do you do with that? These are the words I wanted to hear, and yet, they provided little comfort because I understood the long term ramifications of the damage I had done and the guilt on my heart was made that much heavier.
So, what do I do with this? As any Christian should do, I have confessed my sin; and God promises forgiveness.  With forgiveness from my son and forgiveness from my Lord, I have to evaluate where I stand. It would be easy to rest in my blessed assurance but my soul is stirred with something deeper. Something that needs change. The beautiful thing about this walk with Christ is my ongoing sanctification, the transformation of my inner person into the image of Christ by Christ's Spirit, despite my shortcomings. As I reflect on the Scriptures in James 3, "9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water."; I have come to the realization that at the core of my experience last evening is the tongue that is untamed as James points out. I have to ask these same questions that James is asking here. Can I praise the Lord and curse my son with the same tongue? As these are meant to be answered with a resounding "no", I to have hold fast to these questions and reflect. Luckily, the Lord provides a response through James who doesn't stop there and provides for my answer to my question at the end of chapter 3, "13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom...17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." This is my opportunity to do my part in sanctification by working on these lofty qualities as James has noted, in order that in the future should another opportunity arise like last evening, I sow in Joshua a harvest of righteousness full of encouragement.
May God be blessed by the sharing of this confession,
 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9.