Sunday, April 06, 2008


I think I have found a job that is close to what being God is like. I think it is a basketball referee. Where else can everyone hang on your every move and you can have everyone in a building angry at you at multiple moments in an afternoon or evening? I can't imagine how frustrating that job would be. Nor can I imagine being God and dealing with that.

I see several different types of people basketball games. There are those who are convinced the refs are against them. There are those who think that their team does no wrong. There are the players, who are hustling and doing the best they can. Yet others cheer the good and keep quiet on the not-so-good. And finally, there are those who want EVERYTHING called. Every rule, every violation, they watch with an eagle eye.

I spoke with a ref after one of my daughter's AAU games recently and he hit on that issue. For example, the 3 seconds in the lane call, at the 12-year old age level he only calls if a team gains an advantage. If a girl sets up camp in the lane and they never throw her the ball, there is no advantage. He will speak to her about it, but not call it. His observation is that people come to watch the kids play, not to hear the refs blow their whistles.

I like to think that we should operate like that. I know there is the "plank in your eye, speck in your brother's eye" saying from Jesus. But seriously, should we be watching people that closely? Or should we allow people to grow in grace as they mature in Christ? We cannot realistically expect a new believer to have the grace, wisdom and maturity of a seasoned believer. But that does happen, and people are spiritually harmed by it. That doesn't mean we turn our backs on sin. But we can adopt the ref's rule of talking with the player instead of making a big production out of it. Grace instead of judgment. If they persist, that is a different issue altogether.

I encourage all of us to look for the opportunities to extend grace and not be that guy yelling "3 seconds" all the time from the stands. Instead, let's cheer the accomplishments, and use the mistakes and failures as teaching opportunities. I suspect we will like the results that brings.

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