If you have watched the sports news closely this weekend you probably saw the ugly fight that took place at the end of the Xavier/Cincinnati game. The players had been at odds throughout the game; in fact the refs had to separate them at halftime. Yet with the clock winding down and the game long decided on the scoreboard the boys’ emotions got the best of them. There were shoves, punches, and even stomping on people; there have been multiple suspensions and some believe that a couple of the players shouldn’t play again; I have even heard some say that criminal charges should be levied. In the wake of all of this mess it led the coach of Cincinnati to say he is “embarrassed” by the conduct of his players.
Yet the response from the players fits an all too common thought process in our culture. They simply thought they had to stand up for their rights; they thought they had to show they were strong and not going to be bullied or be disrespected; they weren’t going to be weak. One of the players involved said, “Where we come from…” as though his behavior was expected.
In a nutshell, the players allowed themselves to be distracted by their individual rights and image instead of sticking to the team’s game plan.
I could spend a lot of time just writing my thoughts about this incident and its social ramifications based upon how the media builds it up. Yet I will stick with the purpose of the weekly devotions and write as a “coach” that looks for opportunities to show parallels between the sports world and our Christian lives.
I will stick with the theme of the last couple of weeks of devotions that have keyed on the game plan for us to “solve for X in X-mas.” I have tried to be clever and encourage us to use the “X-mas” phrase to share the Gospel…ye this week I will get straight to the point.
As a coach I am often embarrassed by our “team’s” behavior during the holidays. We spend way too much time arguing and complaining about our rights and being disrespected. I hear far too often that we are not going to be “doormats”; all while hearing messages about peace, turning the other cheek, Christ remaining silent to His accusers, etc.
Please do not get me wrong. We have been given an opportunity (for those of us that are in America) to have a voice through the voting process. Yet the game plan for us is not to be one of political activism or screaming about our rights. The game plan is the Great Commission to preach the Gospel. The game plan is to lay down individual rights in order to focus on sharing the hope, joy, and peace of Christ with others.
When someone wishes you “Happy Holidays or Merry X-mas” this CHRISTmas thank them for the kind greeting and respond creatively. After all they have wished you happiness and merriment. Those aren’t bad things.
Maybe respond by saying, “Thank you and I hope your holidays are not only happy but also full of hope, joy, and peace. Could I tell you how to find those things?” Or maybe say, “Thank you. Could I ask what the ‘X’ stands for in your mind? What are you truly hoping for during the holidays? To me the ‘X’ represents my hope, my joy, and my peace – could I share that with you?”
As a “coach” my desire is to see us stick with the game plan and not be distracted by all this other stuff. I would hope that we would respond like the shepherds did. After they met the Savior they responded not by demanding more respect as individuals - (remember shepherds were considered the lowest class of people) – but instead by becoming the first evangelists after the birth of Christ.
According to Luke 2:17 the shepherds “made known the saying which was told to them concerning this Child.” What was told to them? In the preceding verses there is the good tidings of Christ the Savior and the promise of peace on earth and good will toward men!
If we will be faithful with the “good tidings” that were told to us we will see results like the shepherds did. Check out the response to the good news they were sharing…
Luke 2: 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
Let’s stick to the game plan!