Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Sport or Fitness (02/15/07)
TITLE: Strings attatched
By Melanie Kerr
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I love those words because they assure me that God’s choice of me is not based on anything that I have done, or have neglected to do!
Quite a while ago, I remember reading an account of Jesus’ baptism as I was preparing to teach a Sunday school lesson. The words that God spoke, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” took on a new meaning when I thought about their timing. Jesus had not begun His ministry. He hadn’t performed any miracles or taught any parables. He hadn’t done anything, and yet God declared that He loved Him.
In the society that we live in affirmation is linked to performance. We like people, or dislike them on the basis of what they do, or neglect to do. When people disappoint us in some way, we are inclined to withdraw our support.
Last year I watched more than my usual dose of football. In the staff room sweepstake I picked out Croatia for the World Cup. They did not manage to get beyond the first round. I watched all their matches quite faithfully and also picked up one or two of the players’ names. On one of the nights they were playing, I went as far as finding a recipe for a Croatian beef stew to cook that evening. I think I did my stuff!
However, they failed to do their stuff. They played brilliantly against Brazil, but scored no goals and lost 1-0. They played against Japan, but with few sparks igniting and drew that match. They lost to Australia. I have to confess that I stopped watching that game quite early on. They were committing some fairly outrageous fouls. It went beyond hanging onto jumpers and tripping up the opposition – it was appalling. As I told my fourth years boys the following day – I can’t abide bad behaviour whether it is in the classroom or on the football field. They replied, “It’s a man’s game!” and “It’s a contact sport!” but even so…I still don’t think that excuses a lack of sportsmanship.
I am aware that I often tie in support and encouragement for people with behaviour. I am like the governments of so many countries – I will give aid as long as the man on the receiving end maintains a good human rights record! It is natural inclination I suppose.
God is not like that! His choice of me and the love that He lavishes upon me is not conditional upon my good behaviour. He does not love me because I am good. He does not love me more if I am very good, as opposed to just good! He doesn’t cease to love me when I am bad. He never withdraws his love.
It is a challenge to reflect God’s thinking in our dealings with people.
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