Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Skateboarding Nightmare

Kathy exploded through the front door without knocking.

“Chris!” she shrieked. “I think Eric broke his arm!” Throwing myself into her car, she took me to my ten-year-old son.

When we got to Eric he sat at the bottom of a hill, grimacing with pain and gingerly supporting his wrist.

“I’m sorry, Mom.” Eric apologized as tears rolled down his face. “I know that was a dumb thing to do.”

Before this, Eric had never even ridden a skateboard. What on earth motivated him to make his first attempt heading down that humongous hill?

 Skateboard 2

Still, it was impossible to be upset with him when his wrist was bent at that weirdly unnatural angle. X-rays confirmed the obvious: it was broken. And while Eric was truly sorry, that didn’t take away the consequences of his choice. He was one of the pitchers on the same little league team as two of our other sons. They had just won their league, qualifying them for the city championship. With a broken wrist, it was obvious that Eric wasn’t going to be able to play. He had to be content with coaching first-base instead.

It was like the air went out of the entire team before that first game, and they never really got in the groove. They lost, failing to execute even routine plays. Though they gamely tried to rally momentum for the next game, it proved no different. Their downcast faces told the story of their disappointing finish. While their defeat wasn’t Eric’s fault, his skateboarding choice made it impossible for him to help his team in the way he would have liked.

Each follower of Jesus is part of His team, His body. As such, we are intimately connected and interdependent. The health of one of us affects all the others.

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:4-5)

Trying to let ourselves off the hook for our bad choices, we rationalize and say: “It only affects me.” But the reality is that our choices do affect other people. There are ripples that flow out from each decision, good or bad, affecting everyone who cares about us.

Because as members of the same body, what hurts me, hurts you too. And what hurts you, hurts me.

But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.                1 Corinthians 12:24-26

Further reflection:

1. Have you ever told yourself, “My sin only affects me”?

2. As you look back, can you describe a time when you could clearly see that your bad behavior really did impact others?

Father, I know You have created us to depend on each other. Please forgive me for the times that other people have suffered because of my own sin. Help me choose wisely, so that the body of Christ may be built up, and not hurt.

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