You're out like a fat kid in dodgeball! When I was a kid, we actually played games in which you could be eliminated. I hear it doesn't happen that way anymore. Me personally, I believe getting out or eliminated builds character. Its good for you. You can't always win!
If you're like me, you've been eliminated in a game of dodgeball. You've struck out in baseball or softball. You've been frozen in a game of tag. You've accidentally crossed the line in bowling and set the little buzzer off.
Most of us know what it feels like to be disqualified! Its not a great feeling. But when it comes to a game, its not the end of the world either.
In life, we often feel disqualified. Our view of God can sometimes get skewed in a way in which we believe that one mistake will get us "banned for life". Now, without Christ, this is actually true. We can't enter the Kingdom or have relationship with a Holy God apart from Christ. One mistake builds a canyon between us.
In the wake of recent moral failures....(take your pick from the headlines), I believe its important to realize that in Christ we still go on. We don't go on sinning, but we go on with the mission. An unbelieving world frequently sees itself as unworthy and disqualified to come to God. One of the ways the enemy deceives new believers is by telling them that they have too much baggage to be effective for God's work. And yes, we as Christians will disqualify ourselves too. We allow a moral brain fart or slide keep us from getting back into the game.
Thankfully the Gospel points to us not being banned for life. When Peter royally screwed up, he left the game for a while. He thought he was out. He thought he'd been hit with the dodgeball. He thought it was time to sit out and let the game go on without him. However, even after Peter denied Jesus, went back to his life of fishing, Jesus still sought him out and told him to get back on mission. Jesus wasn't surprised. He knew Peter was going to mess up. He predicted it! He told Peter it would happen. But Jesus also knew that Peter was "the rock". Peter wasn't banned for life or disqualified. Peter would be the one who preached the gospel to thousands during the moments of Pentecost and see thousands be saved. It wasn't over!
The great thing about dodgeball is that we generally get another chance. You might get hit and sit out for a moment, but usually another game starts up. In fact, if your teammate catches the ball, you automatically get back in the game. In freeze tag, if someone touches you, you're unfrozen and back in the game. Its not contingent upon what we do. Its all about the performance of someone else. Through Jesus' performance, we have grace. Yes, we will mess up, but he covers us with grace, makes us right before a Holy God, and has sent us His Spirit of power. With that, God chooses to use us and impact the world for His purposes. We can't use the excuse that we are all out of chances or that we've messed up too bad. There's still work to do. Its time to get back on the horse and try again!
In no way does this give us a license to indulge in moral failures or tolerate them. If anything, when I'm given a second chance, I'm grateful and I want to move on from my mistake. I don't step back into the batter's box after a strikeout to strikeout again. I step back in to knock the cover off the ball.
Are you struggling? Have you failed?
Welcome to the club. Jesus is ready for you to get your head back into the game. Lean on Him and do great things!