When doing the right thing costs you a game

Sunday was a good day of football for half the teams that played. For the other half of the teams it was a bad day, I guess. That’s always the case, right? But for the Houston Texans (really creative name), it was probably, a particularly perturbing day indeed.
On a Hail Mary 50 yard pass into the end zone with no time left, the defensive back batted the ball down instead of going for the interception. While I’ve never been a defensive football player, or played organized football before, I’m told he did exactly what he was supposed to do. Unfortunately doing the “right” thing cost him and his team; the ball he batted down landed right into the hands of a Jacksonville receiver who stepped in the endzone for the game-winning touchdown. You can watch the video here.
He did the right thing but it turned out not to work out in his favor. I can imagine that next time he will try to go for the interception, the personal stats, and abandon doing the right thing. And I don’t blame him.
Often as Christians, we choose to do the right thing in loving others but the result turns out to be, at least proverbially, a touchdown for the other team. For instance, as a church we were planning on having a large number of folks assist Charleston’s Union Mission in sorting food from their recent food drive last night. Unfortunately a large donor backed out, and food didn’t come in for us to sort. So a number of eager folks received news that we wouldn’t be sorting food.
I was really bummed. I bet others were as well. Anytime we choose to serve others, we have a great opportunity to be let down. It might be the un-churched person who agrees to come to church with you, but doesn’t answer the door when you stop by to pick him/her up. It could mean that you could get sick, get fleas or lice, when you love and invite folks into your home. You’re doing the right thing, but getting the “wrong” results.
If we only look at the result of our actions by our sight, we will become pessimistic pragmatists. If I can see right now a “good” (“good”=MY PLANS) result of my actions, I’ll serve and love others. But if I don’t like what I see, then I’ll stop doing what’s right. Its not worth having a “touchdown” scored on me.
Yet for Christians, doing the right thing means that we’ll be disappointed sometimes. Maybe even often, especially in mercy ministry. It means that we’ll be hurt sometimes. And I hate that, and I want to just say, “Forget it!”
But let us not stop doing what is right as we love others, even with the concomitant hurt and disappointment which will inevitably come from it. When you are hurt or disappointed, remember the smiles and respect we ultimately need come our Heavenly Father. Let’s keep on truckin’ despite what the earthly scoreboard and our pragmatic sight-dominated hearts tell us and instead see things with renewed eyes of faith.

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