Thursday, October 13, 2011

Running out of bounds

Last weekend I went to Clemson to watch the Tigers play Boston College. We try to go to a couple of games every year with our kids and a few friends. We are not big donors so we usually get the cheap seats way up in the nose bleed section of the upper deck. One of the great things about going to a game as opposed to watching it on TV is that you can watch whatever aspect of the game you want. If you want to watch the running backs you can, if you want to watch the receivers run their routes you can. You are not limited to what the TV cameras show you.

I mention all of this because I kept seeing something that you sometimes see on TV but not very often. I took the opportunity to watch Clemson's Sammy Watkins run play after play. Sammy is one of, if not the top freshman receiver, in the country. I watched him run several of his routes whether he got the ball or not. On occasion he would run a route and end up out of bounds. Sometimes he was trying to get the ball and some just ended the route either blocking the opponent or he himself was being blocked and pushed out of bounds. Whenever Sammy or just about any other player was running out of bounds the guys on the sidelines would move to position themselves to slow the runner down. They would reach out and grab the runner and help him slow down. If they simply stepped out of the way the guy running could get injured, he could trip over the bench, run into the Gatorade table or run into the brick wall that surrounds the playing field.

As I thought about this I realized this is a reminder to me of how we are to help our brothers and sisters who are running out of bounds in their life. If a friend is struggling with an issue we need to step in and help before he runs into something and gets hurt.
Galatians 6: 1, 2 - 1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Paul says we are to gently restore someone who is caught in a sin. The players on the sidelines did not see the runner coming and drop into a three-point stance and knock him off of his feet, they usually reached out their arm and grabbed the runners jersey or wrapped their arm around his chest and slowed him down. They would then pat the guy on the helmet and encourage him to get back on the field and try again. In the verse above Paul says to restore him, not belittle him, not get in his face and tell him how wrong he is and kick him out of the game, but to restore him.

We probably have friends who are running out of bounds in life. You and I have an opportunity to reach out and stop them, to reach out and keep them from running into something, to help them turn around and get back in the game. Are you willing to reach out?

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