I went to the basketball games at our Green Campus last night. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed watching Chapel Hill b-ball. As I recall, and I don’t recall much, I sat on the bench coaching basketball teams at CHCS five or six times. What a blast!
All the teams have really good players, and the players who are learning how to play this year are really trying hard. Everyone played with enthusiasm, heart and kindness.
I loved our referee Mr. Ernie. He was careful not to call everything. Sometimes he let a double dribble or a travel just slip by his whistle. He let the ball bounce off the ceiling several times without stopping the game. “Why?” you ask. Grace.
Mr. Ernie knew that if He called everything, we would’ve been at the Green Campus gym all night. Why? Because he would’ve had to blow his whistle about every fifteen seconds. He also understands that in order for the game to be fun, and in order for the girls to learn how to play, he has to let the game keep moving. A game filled with judgment, criticism and starts and stops, to talk about rules too often, means no fun and no learning. In effect – no b-ball.
Mr. Ernie, on the other hand, smiles a lot and gives the girls compliments. Ya’ gotta’ like that. He created a combination of learning and discipline mixed with the joy of getting to play.
It got me to thinkin’ about how God treats us. He has given us His Word as a love letter with instructions. He doesn’t come into our lives each time we make a mistake to criticize us or shout at us about what we’ve done wrong. Instead, the Bible says that God unconditionally loves us, that His mercies are new every morning and that His faithfulness is great! When we are in error, He simply asks us to tell Him about our sin, to turn away from it and to trust Him for forgiveness.
Further, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For you are saved by grace through faith – and this not of yourselves; it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8).” I like the acronym that many people use: G.R.A.C.E.: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. God chose to apply the penalty for our sin to His Son. That’s what is meant by “Jesus died at the cross for our sin.”
This gift is offered to us for free. We do not pay or work for it. We receive it by faith or by telling God that we believe in what He has given us. That’s grace! The Bible says, “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God… (John 1:12).”
Wowie! We ought to thank God for that, huh? Father in Heaven, thank You for not giving us what we deserve for our sin, but for applying that penalty to Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for giving us the gift of grace by forgiving us and giving us life that lasts forever with You in Heaven. We are so grateful for Your faithfulness and mercy! In Jesus name, Amen.
Proud of you,