Red Sox/Yankees. Cubs/Cardinals. Dodgers/Giants. Rivalries in baseball are great, full of rich history and hated on all sides. Bulletin board material typically presents itself, providing the offended team with an extra level of motivation. A true rivalry is a combination of wins, losses, controversy, disdain, and grudges.
Rivalries are great in baseball, but they have no place in the life of a believer.
Proverbs 16:27 puts it this way: “A worthless man digs up evil, while his words are a scorching fire.”
It’s tough, isn’t it? Everything in us wants to dig up the evil done to us by those from our past, those whose actions still haunt us today. We love nothing more than to hold that grudge, trying to make them pay for whatever they’ve done, talking about them every chance we get.
What’s more, everyone around us seems to love the story we tell, the story of unfair treatment by those coaches, of parents who pushed us too hard, of teammates who didn’t like us for no reason, of wrong after wrong done to us.
And then there’s this verse. But it’s more than this verse. We could easily dismiss this as a bad translation, or just sort of ignore that it’s in the Bible.
But we can’t ignore Jesus. While we were still sinners, Scripture says, he loved us and died for us. Despite everything we have done, the Bible tells us, he went to the cross to offer forgiveness. Even though the evil against him was unimaginable, he casts our sin away, as far as the east is from the west.
When bulletin board material from your human rival comes your way, when the old feelings of hatred and disdain arise, when those around you seem to love the story, look to Jesus. Remember him, his forgiveness, his words on the cross. And forgive. Cancel the debt. Stop telling the story. Let the grace of Jesus wash over and through you.
Easy? No. But as Jesus said, with God all things are possible.
Lord Jesus, you have forgiven me. Help me to forgive others. Amen.