SACRED SIX: COMPASSION MESSAGE
Ephesians 4:31-32 – “put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling, and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.”
This is my favorite time of the year. It is baseball season. I am a huge Cincinnati Reds fan and have followed them for the first time I went to Crosley Field to Riverfront Stadium to Cinergy Field to Great American Ballpark. I have seen the Big Red Machine, Pete Rose (who should be in the Hall of Fame) hit number 3000, and was at the playoff game when the Reds beat the Pirates enabling them to go to the World Series in 1990.
Having said all of that, I have a baseball story that I believe Paul would have applauded and used as an example for the people of Ephesus. When Boston Red Sox player Wade Boggs played third base for the Red Sox and traveled to Yankee stadium, one of the Yankee fans made it his personal mission to harass him. The man had a box seat close to the field and would torment Boggs with obscenities and insults for the duration of every single game. Finally, Boggs decided he’d had enough. As the man began his usual tirade of insults at the next game, Boggs walked directly over to the man who was sitting with a group of friends. “Are you the guy who is always yelling and swearing at me?” Boggs asked. “Yeah, it’s me,” answered the man in a gruff voice. “Whatcha gonna do about it?” he asked in the way that he felt that he had finally gotten under Wade Boggs’ skin and wanted to pick a fight. But instead Wade Boggs took a brand new baseball out of his pocket, autographed it, tossed it to the man, and went back to the field to continue his pre-game routine. And do you know what? The man became one of Wade Boggs’ biggest fans at Yankee stadium.
Can you imagine what would have happened that day if Wade Boggs would have gone over to that man in the stands and screamed, ranted, swore, and tried to pick a fight with him? And yet, I might add, can you imagine what happens in a facility like ours when people treat one another in that manner instead of being kind, forgiving, and loving? Or better yet, can any one of us imagine if God was to treat you and me like that, with anger, and bitterness, and slander when we fail? Fortunately for you and for me, God grants to us the gift of forgiveness. He grants to you and to me a second chance. What a great lesson to learn.
Chaplain Mark E. Brodbeck
Signature HealthCARE of Coshocton
100 S. Whitewoman Street
Coshocton, OH 43812