Monday, June 7, 2010

Nobody's Perfect

Last night we were discussing Christianity with some young people. I asked them, “What connects your faith to real life?” After some discussion, my wife said, “Christian principles work in real life.” Others added stories of how “loving your enemy” had worked in their experience. One girl said, “I called many friends that I’d had issues with. I asked forgiveness, and later, I felt so free. I think they did too.”

Christian principles work. In a clear example at Detroit on June 2, a young Tiger pitcher (Armando Galarraga) was one out from a perfect game. (When a pitcher gets all 27 batters out) It would have only been the 21st time in baseball history. But umpire Jim Joyce called the last batter safe on a play at first base. The perfect game was gone. Joyce’s call stood, even though the replay showed the batter was out. The fans screamed. Some kooks made death threats! A blogger called it, “one of the worst blown calls in baseball history.”[1]

What happened next was kind of magical. After the game, Joyce watched the replay and promptly admitted his mistake.“About a half hour after tonight’s game, Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga was asked to visit Jim Joyce in the umpires’ dressing room at Comerica Park. Galarraga said Joyce told him, ‘I’m so sorry in my heart. I don’t know what to tell you.’”[2] Galarraga gave him a hug!

Even more touching, the next day Joyce openly wept when he walked out onto the field for the Tigers game.

The resulting public reaction was a massive show of admiration for Joyce’s response. Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski said, “You don’t see an umpire after the game come out and say, ‘Hey, let me tell you I’m sorry.’ He felt really bad. He didn’t even shower.”[3] Media commentators lauded Joyce’s character. Peter Gammons wrote, “the most important lesson to be learned from what happened in Detroit is that Joyce, Galarraga … never lost their dignity. They treated the game and one another with respect.”[4] As Joyce travelled to his next game in Philadelphia, he said, “I walked through the Detroit airport today and people were patting me on the back,” Joyce told more than a dozen reporters … choking up again. “I had a police officer actually say thank-you to me today.”[5]

So a man commits one of the worst blown calls in baseball history and people are patting him on the back? Go figure!

The Bible says, “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.”[6] Joyce made an error, not a sin. But to have denied he missed the call would have been wrong. Instead he took responsibility for his mistake. That is called humility. The apostle James told us, “confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed”[7] Jim Joyce is experiencing healing. He found redemption by responding as the Bible counsels. Joyce didn’t do this as a Christian testimony of some sort. But his actions lined up with the Bible, as do many actions that are widely perceived as the virtuous thing to do.

“How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven…”[8] Jim Joyce knows that. He told NBC’s Today Show, "Well, I've probably been at an all-time low, and steadily climbing to … an all time high, I guess," [9] NBC's Matt Lauer told Joyce he was going to use the umpire's willingness to admit his mistake and apologize for it as an example for his kids.

Yes, Christian principles work in real life.

[1] Robbed! Blown call costs Armando Galarraga a perfect game
By 'Duk, Big League Stew Yahoo Sports Blog
[2] John Lowe, Free Press Sportswriter, Umpire Jim Joyce apologizes to Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga for blown call, denying perfect game Posted: 6:15 p.m. June 2, 2010
[3] Michael Santo,, 6/3/10
[4] Peter Gammons, Tigers, Joyce Show Class, Posted 6/3/10
[5] Mark Snyder, Free Press Sportswriter, Jim Joyce out of Detroit but not the spotlight, Posted 6/4/10
[6] 1 Peter 5:6, New American Standard Bible, (NASB)
[7] James 5:16, NASB
[8] Psalm 32:1 NASB

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Quotes of Note ... The Invisible World

“Spiritual warfare is learning to recognize the strategies, refusing to cooperate with them, and aggressively cutting off the schemes of the devil in Jesus’ name.” Dean Sherman

“those who protest that God cannot exist because there is too much evil evident in life… Evil exists; therefore, the Creator does not. That is categorically stated… If evil exists, one must assume that good exists in order to know the difference. If good exists, one must assume that a moral law exists by which to measure good and evil. But if a moral law exists, must not one posit an ultimate source of moral law, or at least an objective basis for a moral law? By an objective basis, I mean something that is transcendingly true at all times, regardless of whether I believed it or not.” Ravi Zacharias

“But the Devil is no big threat to God’s purposes; he is not even remotely comparable in power. He has been given a limited time before his final judgment to try to prove his case, just as all other moral beings who have chosen to live in rebellion against heaven.” W.A. Pratney

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I've served as a life-long missionary in Samoa, the Pacific region, India, and now in Pennsylvania. The Christian faith is reasonable and works in real life. It is true to the facts. Hope you enjoy some of the thoughts. I appreciate feedback.

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