I have several friends who won’t even go to sporting events with me because I am a little intense. I am not sure what comes out in me but it is a total focus and desire to see my players do well. I have never been a “win at all cost” person. I am a “I want everyone to feel like they did well and feel proud of themselves,” person. However there for sure is there for sure is a winner and a loser in my book. When my kids started to play sports of course I jumped in and coached every thing they played. There is a huge shortage of people who feel enough confidence in themselves to stand in front of a group of 4 year olds and lead them to victory–I AM YOUR GIRL!! Jesse was always a little worried about my intensity. I believe he may have googled “defense attorney” from the side lines a time or two. Not because I was in danger of getting arrested for child abuse but because I was in danger of murdering an adult. If you and I are at the same sporting event and you are critically critiquing your child from the sidelines and possibly hurting their self esteem…watch your back as you leave said sporting event because I will probably be trying to run you over. (side note from my soap box: Your kid needs to hear that you think they are the best one on the field, that they are great, and that you are proud of them. The end. Don’t coach from the sideline–go be a coach if that is your bent–or you might get run over by me. Just trying to keep you safe.) Listen, I am fully aware that a command from Jesus is “Do not run people over with your car,” and I fully want to follow Jesus but I would not test my resolve in this area just yet. Now, do I occasionally have to remind Brock to stop dancing and focus on the game, yes, but I alway compliment his groove thing afterward.
I am fully aware of my tendencies. So when I go to sporting events I pray to the Lord that He will keep my mouth shut for me and that I will reflect Christ to those around me. And not the table flipping Jesus, but the sermon on the mount Jesus. My kids are older now so I don’t coach anymore because once you get past 6 years old you actually need a coach that has some training. So, I have my fan chair and my spirit wear and I kill it from the cheering section. Sometimes my kids tell me I cheer too loud, sometimes my friends stop sitting with me, but I am there as the morale booster and I approach that job with Lara Croft, tomb raider skills!
So that is why I was so shocked at myself this weekend when I sat contemplating how much jail time I would get if I throat punched someone. For sure this is not about the other person at all. This is not a tell all about how bad they are, because in reality this dude is not bad at all, probably. This is about how shocked I was at how quickly I gave up the Lord and wanted to take justice into my own hands. My husband is an assistant coach on Brock’s team. He is one of many coaches. This guy, whom I wanted to throat punch was being very critical of the coaching of a game. I would like to say that I walked up to this dude calmly and gently to discuss the matter, but I did not. Something snapped in me when he was critical of my husband. I went full on warrior mode, and “Oh, no you didn’t, HOLD MY WEAVE!” And I don’t even have a weave. The irony in all this I am so super critical of Jesse all the time that you would think someone being critical of him would not faze me in the slightest. For some reason I want the job alone, and no one else gets to do it. Now, I did not actually say anything to this guy at all. This war was fought in my mind and then played out passive aggressively.
And so, the fall out. I feel like this is one of those movies that we watched in middle school about how to handle situations we would face. You remember those. It went like this:
Narrator: Now lets see how Sally will handle the situation when someone offers her drugs….
Bad drug person: “Hey kid, you want some drugs?”
Sally: I just say NO to drugs.
Narrator: Good job Sally! She will go on to do great things with her life, and be president. Now lets see how Sarah will handle this situation.
Bad drug person: “Hey kid, you want some drugs?”
Sarah: “Hell yeah, and give me all your money too. Oh, and I am taking all your drug inventory and your car. Thank you bad drug person.”
Narrator: Well, this is an example of what happens when you don’t say no to drugs. Sarah will go on to live a life of crime. She will be in and out of jail and she will never be president. She will always be used as a bad example.
So the correct response for me in this situation would be to butt out and mind my own business and let my husband and the other coaches handle the situation. And I probably could have prayed for the guy and in that God would have changed my heart toward him and maybe even made it possible for me to share my faith with him someday. But NOOOOOOO……
No, I sat there fuming, plotting revenge. I thought up ways to chew this guy out and condemn him in front of everyone. I judged him to be someone in total rejection of the Lord and I would take him out for the Lord. I quit the team 4 times in my mind. I cursed the day we ever joined and I cursed the day that Jesse agreed to help the team. I crucified this dude for daring to critique my husband who so selflessly gives his time to the team while his wife complains every time he has to leave for practice or a game. I was not in control of my mind at all, it was a free for all.
But wait there’s more! Not content with fighting this battle by myself I texted my BFF’s to let them know of the possibility of me going to jail, and could they come get me. I rallied their support of my plight. In effect, including them in my sin. And when that did not quench my lust for revenge, I moved in on the other team moms. I went and sat in the stands and told them what I had heard. They were of course out raged and rallied around me too. Now, my sin was not just my own, but I had a posse to join me. I had defamed this guy, because of what he had done to my husband, to all the people around me. Now to be sure, these bystanders did not know what I was doing, mostly because I did not know what I was doing at the time. I just felt really mad and angry and sought relief in others agreeing with me. I did not know the extent of my sin until this morning when the Lord made this the reading for April 16th in my One Year bible. Check in out:
Luke 18: 9 Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.
In essence when I read this today my heart broke for the fact that I identified as the Pharisee. I thanked God this weekend that I was not “as bad” as that guy, when in actuality my sin was worse. My sin of putting myself above this guy caused me to rally support of my superiority. I lead others into sin with me. I got a committee together that made me feel right and better than him and the whole time God was saying, “You might think you are justified in your actions but you stand before me unjustified in this particular sin.” And in the end, in His kindness, God humbled me.
It is so good to be humbled, pruned and corrected even thought it hurts. The restoration that will come and the opportunity for me to stand before those people and say I was wrong will reflect God to them. To humble myself and put them before me will break down my pride a little more. The shock I feel at my sin will point me to stop being a pharisee and be the tax collector, begging God for mercy. At least those last four sentences will be what I am preaching to myself today, because in all honestly my mind knows its true but my flesh wants nothing to do with any of that. And that is all I can do right now is believe God, believe I sinned and trust Him to change my heart in it all. Even as I write this the guilt and the shame dissipate and I become more free. The anger and the need for revenge is placed in the hands of the one who can actually do something about it and not make it worse. Jesus, Thank You for always restoring me. Thank you that you are not surprised by my sin, but that you know its coming. Jesus thank you for loving me right where I am and that my failures don’t change the way you love me.