Pulpit Reflections

Pulpit Reflections by The Rev. Greg Johnson My golf game was a disaster. I golfed out at The Bluffs course two weeks ago and went out of bounds 11 times in nine holes. Five times I put a ball in the water. Five times my ball went past red stakes. One time my ball went past the white stakes (really out of bounds).

There appeared to be no hope for my game. I was ready to agree with Mark Twain, who once wrote of this grassy sport, "Golf is a good walk ruined."

But then I tried one more round of golf. And, importantly, I added one new club to my bag. I borrowed one of those gargantuan, quadruple metal, Bertha-big drivers from a friend. I felt like I was swinging a mailbox at that little white ball.

It worked. I actually hit the ball straight off the tee box. I never knew what it was like to hit my second shot from the neatly mowed fairway! And because my second shots often originated from a legal part of the course, I found myself putting for bogey more often. One club changed my whole golf game.

Too often, people try to make changes in their lives by working within the same mental parameters or spending time trying to go back and fix the past. Sometimes the only answer is to "chuck" the old clubs in favor of a new approach, a new attitude, a new strategy for living.

Jesus created quite a stir in his day because he changed the very rules we live by. No more, eye-for-an-eye when an enemy attacked. Instead, Jesus said, "Turn the other cheek." No more keeping score � when and how badly others have wronged you. Instead of revenge, Jesus adds a new club to our bags when he says, "Anyone can love a friend, I tell you, you must love your enemies."

Forgiveness captured in prayer is a new club that will improve every aspect of our lives. Forgivers live well. People who know that they themselves have received grace, are quick to pass grace along, cheating anger in the process.

I meet angry people who are angry a lot of the time. Their game would improve immensely if they decided to wield a mighty big club; pray for those who have hurt you in any way. Pray that God would provide a way for friendship to happen between the two of you. Pray that God will bless your enemy and you with good days fit for service.

I know of no better way to get past the past then to let God grant us new weapons with which to stay on course into the future. Forgiveness is the big club Christians swing.

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