Over the past five weeks I have placed my backside on the cold hard bleachers of local high school stadiums every Friday night to watch football. I have a vested interest. My son is in the midst of his senior season and I don’t want to miss a game. Additionally, I feel that it is my fatherly duty to keep a close eye on my two younger daughters who also attend these games. Unbeknownst to them evil boys are on the prowl and I must ensure that these boys DO NOT make any “non-football” moves.
Over these past five games I have enjoyed both wins and losses along with the varsity squad. I have jumped to my feet in response to incredible big plays and I am sure that I have incidentally kicked the lady sitting in front of me as I have contorted my body in agony as the opposing teams scored yet another touchdown. Sorry about that Cindy.
Although every game is different, they share common threads. Every game includes amazing catches, wonderful runs, powerful tackles and touchdowns. Additionally, every game includes missed tackles, dropped balls and incomplete passes. Each game consists of its own combination of victories and mistakes. It seems impossible to not allow my emotions to build. Mistakes are made and emotions build.
I took special care during the game last Friday to pay special attention to the larger picture.
One of the interesting things that I noticed was that there appeared to be mistakes made on every play. As I reflected back on past games, I concluded that there must be mistakes on every play of EVERY game. Not only is no one perfect, but no team is perfect and no game is perfect and no play is perfectly executed.
For just a few minutes on Friday I watched the game looking for both mistakes and adjustments. Here is what I observed. I watched teammates in a constant flow of encouraging one another during their victories as well as their struggles. I watched young men miss tackles, only to have other teammates step up and finish the tackles. I watched these boys encouraging one another after a bad pass, a dropped ball or a missed block. I watched coaches pulling athletes aside to correct their mistakes and teach them a better way to play. It was at this moment that I had an epiphany…“What would it be like if none of those things took place.”
I imagined that the opposing team would run for a score after each missed tackle. I envisioned players criticizing each other after every mistake. I concluded that players would continue to make the same mistakes over and over again because no coach would step in to advise them to make adjustments.
I watched a team in unity. The team lost on Friday, but they lost together. The root of unity…is unit. The football team is a unit…and so is the church. In 2 Thessalonians 3:14-18, Paul teaches on the value of “good” confrontation. Let’s be honest, no one likes to be confronted. Yet it is vital to the health of the individual and the unit.
The ONLY good way to approach confrontation is out of love for the individual and the love of the unit. Good confrontation brings about peace and grace.
May we come to love Christ, the church and our brothers and sisters in Christ.