Why do I have to wrestle with doing the right thing? Why can’t I just play basketball, enjoy the exercise, and go home? Why do I have to fight this on-going internal civil war between the Christ follower and the pagan, the battle to determine who will ascend my heart’s throne—me or God?
And do you know why I’m having this dialogue between the two factions inside my head?
No, not really. Probably has something to do with basketball.
Yep, exactly. How did you know that?
I guess ’cuz you mentioned basketball earlier and the picture.
Okay, right. Well, this whole angst tears at my soul because …
… get this …
… my team lost … every … single … game.
I came home grumbling about kids being too young to play with us (my team had the youngest player on it two days in a row) and they had their own time and place to play. Should I say something about this? Should I mount a petition? Argue for age limits?
I hadn’t ever thought this way before. And the only reason I thought it now was … my team lost … every … single … game. Big, compelling, godly reason, huh?
What follows is exactly why a community centered in Christ becomes essential.
I talked things over with Ellen.
Her: Why do you play basketball?
Me: To get exercise?
Her: Is this perhaps an opportunity to mentor young boys?
Me: Well, yes, probably.
Her: Who knows? Maybe what you do and say today will prevent one of the boys a few years from now going to school and shooting other kids. You never know.
Wow! Zing, right to the heart of the matter.
Did you get it—the importance of community centered in Jesus Christ?
Christian-but-struggling me expressed feelings I knew weren’t reflective of a Christ follower.
Wise Christian wife (but it could have been friend, pastor, or any other believer) offers sound counsel, a mirror to both expose my soul’s darkness and to reflect truth’s light.
After talking with Ellen, I allowed Christ’s influence to gain ascendancy once again. I came away from that conversation …
… accepted and listened to …
… with a new perspective …
… and resolved to focus more on mentoring the young than mastering the basketball court (which I’ve never been able to do anyway).
I’m curious. Have other believers helped correct a bad attitude or two in you?
My Top 5 Posts in February:
Does Your Competitive Streak Sometimes Kill the Joy of Community?
What Is Jesus Doing and Where Is He Doing It?
It Sounded So Simple Until I Got Distracted
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Several believers have corrected a bad attitude in me. And while it was painful at first, I was always thankful later. I try to not let it get to that point, but I am glad I have that support system when/if it does. Having friends (and a spouse) willing to risk themselves in that way is truly priceless. Being teachable is key though. I have a friend in a bad place right now who is not listening to reasoning and being teachable, and it’s truly sad and heartbreaking.
It’s a blessing to have those whom you can talk to or who will challenge you when correction is needed. I appreciated the ah-ha moment Ellen brought into the conversation.
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