I enjoy football (soccer); I love football! I follow up on football news, I laugh when ‘rival’ teams loose, or have some sort of crisis, I cringe when it seems that they are building some winning momentum. I remember seeing a football match at a ‘viewing centre’; it was a special day. The club I have the fondest support for had just bought a teenager for what seemed like a ridiculously high price, and so he came in midway in the second half. He was obviously underestimated by the opposing team, so he got a pass, skipped past two (or was it three) players, and bent the ball past the goal keeper!!! The whole place went crazy! I was hugging people I’d never met, high-fiving total strangers, screaming and jumping in that frenzy! Shouts of ‘na so’! ‘we dey ball’ ‘Catch am na!’ ‘pikin wey sabi’! ‘una go walk alone tire!’ filled the air! Obviously supporters of the other team sat dour-faced, it made me all the more ecstatic, I loved it!
In the game of football you had to win at all cost, and embarrass the other team as much as possible. Guard your post, and put in as many goals as you can.
If life were to be a football match, Jesus would ask different. He would say ‘Let them score’! and even more radically, He would say “Make sure they score”! Even if they are about to miss the goal post, the instruction is that we move to post to make sure they score. If its going to go over the line we are to make sure that mistimed shot becomes a goal.
“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behaviour: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that.
Pretty tough thing to say, But love will always move the post.
Its so easy to claim a right, or gloat with three or four ‘I-Told-You-So-s’, but love will move the post, swallow whatever self-pride, and instead find a way to lift the other person’s sprits. That’s moving the post, making sure that they score a goal even in their misery, or their mistreatment of you. People will wrong, annoy irritate, slander, and maybe even fight you; move the post for them. Love them, pray FOR them (not against them), ask God to help you be His arm of love to that person.
‘No more tit-for-tat stuff’ the bible says. When you have the moral high-ground its very easy to want to repay some wrongdoing. The love of God that has been shared abroad in your heart won’t let you do so.
“…seek peace and pursue it”.
Follow the way of love…”
1 Cor 14:1
Love, and ‘His’ consequences: Grace and Mercy, are perhaps our greatest weapons in winning our neighbours to ‘The Lord’s side’.
Someone WILL annoy you today, move the post for them, find a way not to retort as you often would, say a prayer for them in your heart, not from your high and lofty self-righteous perch, but from the humility of a saved and forgiven person.
God moved the post for us. Matter of fact, He moved the entire field for us; please do likewise.
NB: A few questions may arise, and it is right that they do; on issues such as “should i keep allowing myself get hurt, because i want to love’ , ‘how much hurt can one take?’ and the like. I trust that in the second part of this article, God will helps us around those curves.