"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)
We all have our "thorn in the flesh", that irritating spiritual (or physical) infirmity that just drags us down. Mine is a vengeful, vindictive spirit; I don't like starting fights, but when someone gives me one, I'll tango!
Now you remember me mentioning this problem when street preaching a couple of weeks ago, well, I did it again...argh! I wasn't preaching this time (thank the Lord), I was playing hockey. This is EXACTLY what happened, this is how I relayed the story to my friends and colleagues:
I was sitting on the bench after my first shift on the ice. It was just me, and my friend Chris. While we sat there, our team got scored on. Now we are just playing "shiny" hockey, which is a no contact, no slap shot, no gloating form of hockey. Well! The goal scorer seemed to have forgotten the "no gloating" part, because he skated past our bench with his arms in the air, and made a mocking face.
I can't begin to tell you how that aggravated me! I went on to play some seriously INSPIRED HOCKEY. I was everywhere: offence, defense, you name it, I excelled. What drove me? The NEED for revenge. And as luck would have it, I got my heart's desire.
"Rand intercepts the pass! It's a 2-1! Rand is aiming for the pass...No! he fools every one and buries the puck in the net!"
And then guess what I did. Yep! you guessed it: I skated towards the player who had gloated, stared him right in the eye, and rose my arms in the air and mimicked his mocking face. That felt sooooo good!
The game was Monday afternoon, it took a solid 48 hours for me to realize that my behaviour was unacceptable. Oh! some will say I was just fooling around. Others will say that the guy had it coming. But no, my behaviour was evil and I need to repent and yet again, like Paul, pray for deliverance. The Bible is just way too clear on the matter:
"See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men." (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44)
It was just a game you say? Yes, it was just a game, but if this Christian can't behave in such a situation, how well will I fair in a more serious situation?
I continue to covet your prayers.
Take care, and God bless,