Football and the Way of Mercy

I have to start this post with a confession: I LOVE FOOTBALL. I am an avid fan. Not only do I love my own team—Go Green Bay!!!!—I also love the game itself. I love to watch the refs and critique their motions and descriptions of penalties. I love to watch the QB’s dance, the runners plow, the offensive linemen charge, and the receivers sail into the air to make impossible catches. So there it is: I love football. You can guess what I was doing on Sunday evening. And I know I”m not alone; The Super Bowl is, after all the most watched sporting event in America!

This leads me to my next confession, which I’m not so proud to admit…I abhor the Patriots! I am an avid critic. It’s not that they don’t play amazing football. I just have a hard time forgiving such hubris and cheating! And I know I’m not alone here either.  How else can you explain a map of America by twitter that shows all but four states rooting for Philadelphia?

But why blog about it today? Well my affinity for football and aversion for one aforementioned team, led to a life lesson this week, that I am compelled to share.

It was late as I tucked Roman into bed Sunday evening after the game. I quickly prayed with him, and in my excitement over the game, impulsively exclaimed, “And thank you LORD! that the Patriots did not win again, amen.”

As I stood to leave Roman stopped me with this comment, “Mom, it just doesn’t seem right to rejoice over someone losing. It feels unkind.” Ouch!

“It’s all in fun.” I brushed it off. “Besides, I’m also really glad for the Eagles. They’ve never won before, and their quarterback is an outspoken Christian.” I added.

But his comment came back to me yesterday after I dropped him off at school. I couldn’t help imagining him on the play ground laughing at a kid he doesn’t like and saying, “Haha! You lost!” Then turning his eyes heavenward with an exclamation, “Thank you Lord, that he lost!” It felt unkind.  Was I teaching him one form of behavior and adhering to another? Leave it to our children to expose the hypocrisy within!

When Roman got home form school I said to him, “I need to talk to you about something important.”

“Uh-oh,” he moaned.

“You aren’t in trouble.” I quickly assured him. “It’s about me–about our conversation when I tucked you in last night.”

“Ahhhh…that.” He said, as if he knew already what I was about to say.

“I”m sorry I said what I did. You are right. It is unkind to cheer when someone loses. Even if they are someone we don’t know.” He nodded. “Instead, we should pray for them. I know the quarterback from the Eagles is a Christian and he has testified to trusting God even with his football game. But I don’t know if any of the Patriots are Christians. It would be better to pray for them than cheer over their loss.”

Then he asked. “Mom how many times and when did they cheat?”

“I know of three times. The last time was two years ago, I think.” I told him.

“Oh,” he answered. “Then maybe they’ve changed!”

I laughed—not because of how unlikely I thought that was–ooh, my self-righteous heart–but because once again God was speaking through Roman to show me the way of mercy.

You’re right, Roman. Maybe they have! We should always give people a chance to change. Look we want people to give us room to grow and change. So we should be willing to give that chance to others.” He nodded as he continued building the domino track he was working on.

As I finished making dinner, I couldn’t help but think how thankful I am for another chance. And for the reminder of God’s grace and mercy through a simple thing like football and an honest child! Out of the mouth of babes he has ordained praise!

No Comments (yet)

Leave a Reply

Current day month ye@r *

Comments RSS Subscribe to the Comments RSS.
Trackback Leave a trackback from your site.
Trackback URL: