Pastor's Blogby Rev. Kevin Miller
Feel free to read and comment as I share my thoughts on a variety of topics that I hope you find interesting or uplifting.
In yet another example of irrational behavior and youthful impulsiveness, a 24-year-old professional baseball player is dealing with the logical consequences of hateful and inflammatory posts to Twitter he made as a 17-year-old.
Josh Hader is an all-star relief pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. On July 17, as he was pitching in the All-Star Game, someone anonymously re-posted Hader’s 7-year-old inciting tweets. He first became aware of this after he left the game. To his credit, in a postgame interview, he didn’t deny or try to justify his actions, but held himself accountable (as opposed to whoever reposted Hader’s comments who hid behind a pseudonym, but I digress). He has since met with and offered contrite and tearful apologies to his teammates, coaches, and Major League Baseball executives. “These were never my beliefs,” he said. “I was young. I was saying stuff out of ignorance and that’s just not what I meant.”
I don’t know whether or not Josh Hader is a Christian, but I admire the way he has handled himself the last few days. Let’s be clear about this: I am in no way endorsing or agreeing with what he said in his post, (If you would like to read the content of the posts, use Google. I personally find the comments too distasteful to even quote here), but who among us can’t empathize with Josh?
Jesus invited a crowd of accusers, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone.” (John 8:7) Maybe it’s just me, but I’m thankful that I was not the same person at 24 that I was at 17 (and for that matter, that I’m not the same person today that I was at 24). Do any of you want to be 17 again? At 17, I had more answers than questions. 40 years later, I find myself with more questions than answers.
So what do we learn from this?
Think before you post…
Proverbs 15:1-2 says, A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
At some point, we’ve all played the role of the fool. I learned a long time ago never to respond emotionally. Think about the long-term implications before you hit the “post” or “send” button, and, if possible, wait 24 hours before doing it.
Remember there is no “unsend” button.
Take responsibility for your actions and words.
Galatians 6:4-5 reads, All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride. 5 For all must carry their own loads.
These word precede the classic “we reap what we sow” in Galatians 6:8. Along with Josh, we feel the weight of our actions that hurt others. Following Jesus means that we commit all our actions and words to him. Are your actions and words honoring Christ today?
Children and youth NEED mentors and guides.
It’s interesting to me that, by law, people need to be a certain age to drive, vote, join the armed forces, and purchase cigarettes and alcohol. Why? Because we understand that they are still children who lack the cognitive and emotional maturity to make responsible decisions. But anyone with a computer or cell phone can post any message they want to the world.
There’s no guarantee that, even if a youth has a mentor, they won’t do or say (or post) something stupid. But this event lifts up the fact that all children and youth have a need for solid role models in their lives. Kids will be kids, but more than once, I’ve had to remind someone (even a few adults) that their pastor is reading their posts.
You are never too old to help influence a child. The Psalmist pleaded with God to use him for the sake of the next generation: Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, ‘til I declare your power to the next generation. Your might to all who are to come. (Psalm 71:18)
Remember the lesson of the marbles: every Sunday matters and we’re playing for keeps.
Nobody is beyond the reach of God’s grace.
Romans 8:31-39 says exactly this: Nothing can separate us from God’s love.
I’ve heard it too many times: “God won’t forgive me for what I’ve done.” Don’t believe that lie. Nothing and nobody is beyond the reach of God’s grace. As Josh was pitching in the All Star game that night, there was also someone in the stands holding a sign that said, “John 3:16.”
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
If you want to post some good news that you will never need to apologize for, post this!
Whatever is in your past, God is willing to leave it there. Will you let Him?