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It's almost football time again. As I'm writing this, I'm aware that the NFL season starts soon, high school teams are having scrimmages, and college isn't far away. Exciting!
But what about the players who have to sit on the sidelines? They've been "benched" by injury or eligibility issues. They haven't made the starting line. They sit for one reason or another.
I don't know if you've ever been sidelined, but it is an anxious, uncomfortable time. It can result in a variety of emotions and reactions and sometimes, merely being sidelined for awhile, can derail a sports career.
Our Spiritual Lives
Have you ever felt sidelined spiritually? Like everyone around you is having a 'winning season' with God but you are on the bench? Maybe you've done or said something that has left you feeling 'ineligible' in your relationship with the Father. Maybe you've experienced some kind of wound to your soul that has left you injured and unable to enter in.
Just like with athletes, the challenge comes in our response! Being sidelined spiritually can result in a variety of emotions and reactions. We may feel defensive or depressed or angry at God or our brothers and sisters. Too often, we let being temporarily sidelined derail our faith.
Let me encourage you to rethink your position right now. Your view from the bench doesn't have to be permanent. One of the best ways to get off of the bench, spiritually speaking, is forgiveness. Forgive yourself! Forgive others! "Forgive" God - if need be - by soaking up His love for you instead of perceiving Him as out to get you. I was reminded recently at a financial conference (of all places!) that God greatest act of love was FORGIVENESS. John 3:16 says that God so loved that He FORGAVE.