Dodge Ball, the Matrix, and Grace

DODGEBALL

Grace. It is one of those things that you sometimes don’t really miss until it’s gone.

Grace.. It covers a multitude of sins and its love warmly embraces a sinner gone astray.

Grace… It forgives AND forgets, calling you to a greater level with love.

Grace, Grace, Grace.

Giving and receiving grace are both art forms that have almost felt like distant memories lately. I’ve grown closer lately with friends, colleagues, acquaintances whose interactions with me are often characterized by the way that they point out, ridicule, and often become enraged by error on the part of myself or others.

This is a mindset that I once knew all too well. It is a life on egg shells, or maybe better put it is like my favorite summer game: dodge ball.

What I love about the game of dodgeball is the fun matrix style elusive moves I can employ to escape being struck by the high speed weapon slung by my opponents. However, when those rubber/foam balls become biting words and derisive insults the game becomes much more a battle in esteem creation, pride protection, and flat out spirit crushing. I know that this is the lifestyle that I was raised in as we played “the dozens” often and yo mama was almost a part of every conversation.

However, discovering Christ and a church that introduced me to a grace that not only surprises with love but strives toward uplifting and Jesus honoring in every sentence, has gotten me accustomed to life far away from egg shells… a life where all the balls are deflated and there is no need for high flying jump splits to survive an interaction wherein you are bound to experience fault.

Having made myself at home in that new world and working that former way of talk and interaction out of my daily norms, makes it a bit of reverse culture shock when I find myself re-immersed in that old world. That world where I was a fine craftsman of weapons of mass derision. That world where I was a ball whipping sniper seems like a new battle ground all over again, wherein my old weapons are no longer the weapons with which I fight. However,  I need to apply grace to myself as I start reaching for those balls as my foes whirl them past my head.

Grace, that’s it. The balm that forgives my poor weapon choice is the same weapon that I must wield on the battlefield.

I must side step and strike with grace.

I must quick duck and come up firing with grace.

I must catch the painful words and rapid fire a return of graceful assault.

“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit – you choose.” Proverbs 18:21 MSG

As I write this I am increasingly thankful for the opportunity to remember that the weapons of my warfare are no different that my language of love.  Thanking Jesus that I am packing serious heat, whether I get hit in the match or not, I’ve got the salve and the sword: GRACE.

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