2 Corinthians 2:7
Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.
2 Corinthians 2:14-15
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
I am not a big fan of baseball. However, I have become a fan of Armando Galarraga, the pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, who was the victim of a poor call in what would have otherwise been known as “The Perfect Game” on the evening of June 4.
Since I don’t watch baseball, I received this story from a blog of a blog. Mark Shaw of Truth In Love Ministries ( http://histruthinlove.wordpress.com ) spotlighted a blog post from Dr. Harry Reeder, senior pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church. Now I am deeply motivated to share it with my blog followers. I hope it touches you as it has me.
Here’s the scene from the controversial call…..
Now, here’s how Reeder described what you just witnessed. I have paraphrased his blog post below for your convenience, but if you choose to read the entire post, here’s the link:
“Galarraga delivered the pitch. The batter hit a ground-ball to the left side of the infield. It was fielded by the first baseman, who was ready to toss it to Galarraga, as he covered first base just ahead of the runner. This play, like this game up to this point, was worked to perfection, except the umpire. He made an error. Jim Joyce called the runner, who was obviously out, safe. Galarraga’s immediate response was the first of multiple amazing responses to that call that which provided the opportunity for this story and a glorious moment for a life lesson. Galarraga simply smiled. It was a smile that seemingly conveyed, as one sports writer said, a hope that the umpire was right because it sure seemed that he was wrong.”
“The instant replay showed the runner was out and the umpire was indeed wrong. The obligatory and expected anger of the manager, team and crowd descended upon the first base umpire, Jim Joyce. As they surrounded him, the only one absent was Galarraga. Then, during the media onslaught Galarraga refused to react with anger, wrath or accusations. Although the media was clearly attempting to bait him into an angry response of condemnation of the umpire and speculation as to the bad call which he had made but the simple smile was now followed by a simple statement…”we all make mistakes.” Armando did not resort to threatening a law suit. He made no accusations of prejudice, bias or malevolence… just simply the recognition that “to err is human.” What an unbelievably refreshing moment but, it didn’t stop there.”
“When the umpire Jim Joyce saw the replay he immediately, with sincere and visible emotion, owned his mistake and declared that “I costs that kid a perfect game.” Joyce went to Galarraga and asked for forgiveness. Now, whether Galarraga is a Christian or not, I do not know. But I do know, whether by redeeming grace or common grace, he did an act of grace and not only forgave him but then did his best to console the visibly and emotionally distraught umpire.”
“Yet, this story did not end there either. If it had, was already a glorious moment but, more was to come. Joyce was the first base umpire, so in the rotation for the next day he was to be the home plate umpire. He knew that he could expect nothing but shouts of abuse, anger and jeers from the crowd. The managers of both teams normally bring out the starting lineup cards to the home plate umpire to start the game but this time, the manager of the Tigers, Jim Leyland, sent Galarraga. When the two men met at home plate, they shook hands, Galarraga again smiled a simple smile and Jim Joyce again wept and again Galarraga consoled him. The reconciliation that was personal the day before now became public. The reaction from the crowd was now spontaneous and exuberant cheers and applause. Even baseball fans who paid for a ticket to yell at everyone, particularly umpires, realized that they had witnessed another glorious moment.”
“Baseball is a just a game but that day it not only taught lessons for life but it taught lessons for what Paul calls “the abundant life.” We live in a broken world. We will have to deal with malicious sin but we must not be malicious in our response. We must overcome evil with good. Here was a young man who had, in his hands, the coveted achievement of “the perfect game.” It was taken from his hands by an error but he rose above the circumstances and realized that even though he wanted a “perfect game” he lives in an “imperfect world” where errors are made all the time yet he responded graciously and redemptively.”
“Circumstances do not dictate your character, they reveal it and become the opportunity to refine it. Armando Galarraga’s character was revealed in that circumstance to such a display that we should be motivated and challenged to call upon God’s redeeming grace in our lives in the midst of disappointment as well.”
“In that “Imperfect Game” on June 4, we got to see something much better than “The Perfect Game.” We were blessed to witness the “Perfect Response.” We live in an “imperfect world” because of sin in the midst of “imperfect people” because we are all sinners. BUT…. there is a Redeemer who has overcome our sin and by that same grace Christ will make us overcomers in a world of sin and errors. Fans will remember Jim Joyce, the umpire who owned his error and asked for forgiveness as well as Armando Galarraga, a man who was bigger than self promotion and gave forgiveness.”
“Could we give in life a Gospel driven “perfect response” to the “imperfect world” around us so that those watching would cheer – not us but the One who saved us and changed us from the need to be cheered to living lives that brings cheers of praise and glory to Christ? That will be a glorious moment.”
I hope that the next time I feel life is unfair or a person has treated me poorly, I will reflect on this story. When we do our best to represent the character of Jesus (even when we don’t feel like it) we can expect His glory to shine through. Oh and by the way, Armando Galarraga was presented a 2010 Corvette convertible by General Motors for his near-perfect game. Funny how things work out. God has a way of providing rewards to those who demonstrate Christ Character!!
PERFECT GAME OF LIFE?
NOT A CHANCE
PERFECT LIFE AFTER THIS LIFE?
ABSOLUTELY…ONLY WITH JESUS CHRIST!
NOW THAT’S A GOOD CALL!!