Tuesday, July 14, 2009

State of Grace

As I sat scrutinizing my ten-year-old daughter’s every move, I was vaguely aware of the comments parents around me were making. In the outfield, she never let a ball get past her, but occasionally hesitated while deciding where the play would go. This is her way – never hasty, always thinking before acting. Through practice, these plays will come automatically to her and the thought processes will connect like lightning.

“Get the ball to the pitcher!” a mother behind me yelled.

It was an overthrow, and another parent groaned.

I felt my blood boiling. How quickly they forget the great plays my kid made last game, and the errors their own daughters frequently make in the field. I knew that they were feeding off the intensity of the assistant coach that day. If the always-calm head coach were there the whole atmosphere would have been different.

One of the mothers walked away and two others immediately started whispering about her. “She’s the most disorganized mother I ever met,” said one to the other.

So she was a little late to the game. She came with her truck loaded with toys and food to keep the younger siblings occupied for the next four hours; it was a double-header. I couldn’t believe how people could act so friendly to one another and say mean, unfair things behind their backs.

Many of the parents decided to stay for pizza and a parent-child game. “I have dinner planned,” I said, which was true. Even truer was the fact that I had had enough of these people for four hours.

A good friend of mine talks about living in a “state of grace”. This is the sort of person that displays a Christ-like attitude and is lost as to an explanation for others’ non-loving behavior. The more one listens to the Holy Spirit, the more the world is going to bother you. This is best explained by this passage in Romans 6.

Chapter 6

1 What then shall we say? Shall we persist in sin that grace may abound? Of course not!
How can we who died to sin yet live in it?
Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.
For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.
We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.
For a dead person has been absolved from sin.
If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.
We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him.
As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God.
Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as (being) dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.
2 Therefore, sin must not reign over your mortal bodies so that you obey their desires.
And do not present the parts of your bodies to sin as weapons for wickedness, but present yourselves to God as raised from the dead to life and the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness.
For sin is not to have any power over you, since you are not under the law but under grace.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Of course not!
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
But thanks be to God that, although you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient from the heart to the pattern of teaching to which you were entrusted. 3
Freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness.
I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your nature. For just as you presented the parts of your bodies as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness for lawless ness, so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. 4
But what profit did you get then from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, 5 and its end is eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Resolved: At the next game, I will try to rein in my own hurt feelings if I overhear comments about my daughter, and do my best to be a positive influence on those around me.


Anne said...

My pastor gave me a good suggestion about gossip the last time I went to confession. Instead of contributing to the gossip or simply walking away, why not try changing the subject to a completely different topic. Not easy, but the rewards will definitely be worth it!

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

I have used all those strategies depending on the circumstance. If I had been involved in the conversation, I would have defended her because she is my friend. But I was simply overhearing from my chair. I won't tell her what they said either because it would just hurt her feelings.

Loren Christie said...

That's horrible. Gossip that cuts people down in "secret" is probably the most subtle of evils. When you try to remove yourself from it, people label you as arrogant or aloof. I'd rather wear that label then let negative, nasty thoughts fill my brain and pour out of my mouth all day.

bettyl said...

Just make sure your girl hears from you that she did well. The rest will fade away.

dddiva said...

It never fails to amaze me when I hear vicious backstabbing from people I assumed were just not like that. I can't even fathom what anyone would gain from doing it so I have no insights, but unfortunately it is pretty common.
I too try to take the high road and I guess that's all we can do without making an ugly situation worse.
Glad I stopped by from BPOTW, you gave me something to think about.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

I must admit that there have been times when I allowed myself to be pulled into gossip and actually had fun doing it. Looking bad I knew it was ugly and was ashamed of myself for it. As Christians we must always do our best not only to behave properly but to inspire others to do so as well.