Have you ever been frustrated by something that should work and doesn’t? For the last several months I’ve had a rotten time trying to charge my phone. I purchased several charging cords but the connection always seemed to be an issue to the point where many times I would have to hold the phone and firmly push the cord to get a steady charge. I was just about to take the phone into the store and replace it when I had an idea. Taking a pin I probed the cavity where the cord connected and immediately all kinds of dirt and matted hair began to come loose. Honestly, I felt pretty foolish—no wonder the phone was not properly charging—it was plugged up with debris.
It was an amazing show of sportsmanship. Tiger Woods walked into the gallery and was met by Jack Nicklaus, arguably the world’s greatest golfer. Jack complimented him for his performance—his winning score of 67 matched Jack’s own record. And then he told Tiger that his birdie on the 16th hole was one of the greatest shots he had ever witnessed.
Why was this conversation so remarkable? For the simple reason that Jack knew the heinous sins of Tiger. He witnessed the planet’s most popular golfer meltdown morally and behave in ways that were a complete embarrassment to the sport. He rendered grace and dignity to an athlete he could deliberately have avoided.
Recently, I spoke to about 400 men on the topic of unwinding. I could not find the word unwind in Scripture, but its synonyms relax and rest are plentiful throughout God’s Word. There is a strong theological foundation for rest. Did you know that God modeled unwinding? Genesis 2:2—“ By the seventh day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done.”
I am continuously amazed at how effectively Satan derails relationships among Christians through bad reports and conflict. Teams of people who functioned well in ministry become divided. Churches split. Friendships end often without either party working hard to find the source of the problem. How quickly we believe bad information about fellow believers without bothering to investigate the facts or appreciate the potential for misunderstanding. I realize why bad news sells newspapers—trouble is as attractive as a bug-zapper. But how sad it is that Christians so easily judge and condemn each other at the expense of God’s kingdom when we should be champions of forbearance.
Two friends drug him down. It started with watching mediocre movies and descended into pornography. Sambo felt miserable and tried to rationalize his actions against a brighter conscience. He felt trapped until one night he listened to his father, Titus, preach a message he’d heard countless times. On this evening in December of 1994, God’s Word pierced Sambo’s heart. He felt the potent pull of the Holy Spirit. Tears filled his eyes and plunged downward washing away built-up shame. Later that night he repented of his sin and honestly asked Jesus to become His Lord and Savior. Lingering guilt was replaced by enduring peace. Love came and filled a 14-year-old boy in Trivandrum, India.
I want to be good and I suspect the same is true for you. Yet, despite my best intentions, I cannot live a perfect life. The deeper I get to know my Lord the more aware I am of my shortcomings. For this reason I find the concept of justification to be somewhat overwhelming. God in His profound holiness did not have to go to any length to rescue me from sin. He does not need me and most certainly I have offended Him time and again. Yet, inexplicably through His vast love, He chose a horrific path to blaze a terrific salvation.
Under the Keene Road overpass, he drove his dusty white Taurus. The yellow line on his left stretched endlessly. At mile marker 268, four crop dusters flew into view, their lazy formation zooming to the south. Green fields smelled of spring, even the headless metal torsos holding miles of telephone wires seemed alive.
When we bought our house the floor was covered with an ugly (trust me), soiled green '70's style carpet. To the owner, the carpet was special and no doubt held some sentimental value. We could not replace it fast enough! To our amazement, when we pulled up the carpet we discovered a beautiful hard wood floor. Friends came over and lovingly applied the proper finish to reveal the wood's texture in all its beauty. When the carpet (aside from the color), was new it looked good. No one would have thought much about what was underneath. Slowly it began to wear and fray and soil. Eventually it became an eyesore. Finally, it was so bad it was fit only to be destroyed.
I wish everyone could take a seven-day hiatus into the wilderness. There are no phones to ring. Trees do not hold ticking clocks. The ground may be uncomfortable and the weather may be cold but the air is clean and perspectives change. Sitting around a campfire for hours, the mind begins to clear. Beads of stress from a culture of busyness evaporate under stars without competition from neon lights. The sound of a rushing river soothes the soul. The cries of a vigilant falcon pierce the air with the anthem of freedom.