Monday, May 16, 2016

Devotion 5.17.16

Texas Ranger fans are feeling a sense of satisfaction right now.  Toronto Blue Jay Juan Bautiste hit a homerun last season in the playoffs, and he immediately broke a few unwritten rules in baseball by flipping his bat and standing at the plate as he watched it go out (bad form).  The team the Bluejays were playing was Texas.  Fast forward to Sunday and the same Bautiste is on first base against the Rangers after being hit by a pitch (some say in retaliation for the bat toss last October), and he slid past the base on a grounder to attempt to break up the double play.  That the new rule put into place to protect the short-stop or second basemen might come into play became moot when the Rangers second baseman Roughned Odor threw an errant ball to first base, turned, and proceeded to land a clean haymaker right into the left jaw of Bautiste that knocked his glasses and cap off and caused Bautiste to stumble and turn to get away from another possible blow.  Ranger fans applauded the move on social media and in the park.  Now baseball will sort through a certain punishment for all players involved in the subsequent bench clearing, but it was a moment to behold.

It was reminiscent of another Ranger by the name of Nolan Ryan when the 46-year-old hit Robin Ventura with a pitch. Ventura, a third baseman for the Chicago White Sox, stood for a second mulling over his options, started a move toward first base, and then turned, paused, and then charged the mound.  Ryan squared off on the mound and stood and waited as he curled an arm around Ventura calf-roping style and pummeled him with his free hand.  Ranger fans and Nolan Ryan fans stood with tears in their eyes and fists pumping in the air. 

We love it.  It gets our blood flowing and gets us charged.  It's real Old Testament.  David v Goliath.  A real "eye for an eye" moment. Or is it? Leviticus gives a glimpse of Gospel love when God instructs, "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of our own people, but you shall love our neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord." (19:18)  Christ reminds us of God's role in vengeance as opposed to ours:  "You have heard it said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'  But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil.  But if anyone slaps you on the right check, turn to him the other also.  And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have our cloak as well." (Matthew 5:38 - 40)

So, what to make of all this?  Our sinful nature is clearly going to take matters into our own hand, even with the warnings from God and Christ. The danger is that our sinful nature cannot deliver righteous justice that God will deliver.  We pray that we use discernment and wisdom via God's Word when a situation presents itself.  We pray we measure our words and our actions.  We pray for our own legal and justice system that it deliver earthly justice in a measured way according to the laws, but we ask that we resist taking even our law into our own hands if the outcome is to yield to evil and sin.

Hope Men's Ministry

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