Tag Archives: retribution

X=3, Y=-7 and the New Orleans Saints

Everyone was waiting to hear what the referee would say as fans were cheering in the stands and folks at home were glued to their TV sets. Do you remember that play? Almost anyone you ask today, except for the obvious, will agree that it was a bad call. Most folks know that the New Orleans Saints won the super bowl due to a variety of bad calls, including the famous “Pass Interference” call that had folks holding their breath.

For me personally, I wouldn’t want a championship ring that in my heart I knew I hadn’t truly earned. But that’s just me.

Next, we have the big scandal of a head coach that gave players bonuses for intentionally hurting opponents. Many knew. Many kept their mouths shut. Hence began my hatred for the New Orleans Saints.

But I’ve realized recently that life intersects. If you were to plot my life on a grid, like we used to do in Algebra class, I would have given myself all kinds of positive numbers. Hatred for a football team? Who cares? It’s just a game. That doesn’t have anything to do with my faith, right?

So I took a deeper look and realized everything gets plotted on my grid. My hatred for people who had done wrong was still hatred. My ardent support of anyone who would kick the Saints’ butts was nothing but seeking revenge and making sure they got what they deserved. Really?

It’s just a game. But the attitude of hatred and demanding retribution aren’t the attitudes of a Christian. Did the team do wrong? Yes. But I’m not their judge. They’ve been fined and had penalties put on them. Yes, they still got away with the superbowl championship, but what matters is my heart.

Faith is my X axis and life in general is my Y axis – and they do intersect! It is all connected. I’m still not a big fan of the Saints. But instead of harboring hatred and demanding retribution, I’m going to choose to forgive and give them a chance to earn my respect again.

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The Valley

I was reading today a passage from the book of Romans and how God leads us to repentance. It got me to thinking about the difference between repentance and condemnation. I think of it as a valley.

Imagine yourself walking through a valley. You feel all alone, but echoing off of the grassy slopes of the mountains surrounding you are the merciless cries, jeers, taunts, demands for retribution and proclaiming of all of your faults by angry and revengeful people. This is condemnation.

Imagine yourself walking through that same valley, but the voices are different. The accusations are the same, but they are spoken in pleading tones, as if the person just wants you to acknowledge your wrong so they can forgive you. All of your faults and failures are still there and still trouble you, but Jesus walks along beside you and says, I have forgiven you and if you stick with Me, we can make it right and make something good come out of it.

For me, I would much rather travel through the valley of repentance than the valley of condemnation.

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