By Rev. Don Rivers
I am known for reminding drivers, team members and people in general to honor God in the way we respond to the situations and consequences we are presented with. Maybe I say it too much and people tune me out. I say it because we all need reminding that when we respond in a way that is self-serving we dishonor God and those around us. I am left shaking my head. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The checkered flag dropped, the smoke cleared and a winner was determined but something was missing. You guessed it, the celebration was dampened because of the means used to gain victory. Don’t take my word for it. I didn’t come to that conclusion, the driver who won the race did.
Quoting from his statement to RacedayCT.com, “It’s hard to celebrate when you have to win it like that.”
I didn’t have the opportunity to talk with driver how so I am just going to leave the comment alone. It does however raise a bigger point. Is there a way we can win and not have to apologize for the way we did it? When we honor God in the way we handle ourselves.
I watched to laps unfold and listened to the comments at the conclusion. One stuck in my mind; “That’s one way to win a race.” The person who made the comment was absolutely right, that’s one way. There are many other ways to win also. The fact is when we take the high road it leaves a better taste in our mouths.
This is not a commentary on how the race was won but more a lesson about the ends don’t justify the means. Winning is good, done in a way that respects the other competitors it is worth celebrating. We talk about it so much it is in our tagline;
“Run the race in such a way as to win, through off everything that hinders and focus on Jesus.”
I know the reason we run the race is to win. I also know that it is difficult when victory is within reach to dial it back, you can reach out and taste it. We get blinders on and do whatever we think we need to do to secure victory. We all get caught up in the moment, do things that, when given time to reflect on, we may have chosen to do differently.
One of the observations that came to mind as I drove home from Riverhead was the idea of forgiveness vs permission. As I changed lanes to move around drivers I wondered out loud if they were even aware of their actions knowing full well they couldn’t hear me. They seemed to be driving on their own road with no one else in mind. They are just driving wherever they want, however they want and the world will just have to find a way around them. I am concerned that we are developing into a society of narcissists.
We have misconstrued what forgiveness is about. We have decided that we can pursue our own wants and desires without worry because when we are held accountable we can just ask for forgiveness. You know the saying, it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission. That is not the point, the consequences from our actions do not go away. We may be forgiven but we will still be in jail for life if we murder someone. We get shortsighted and don’t realize the burden selfish behavior comes with.
A couple passages come to mind;
Matthew 16:26; And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
1Corinthians 10:23; You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.
We can rationalize anything but in the end we have to come to grips with the fact that the consequences of our choices are burdensome. God has a way for us to live that frees us from the burdens created by selfish decisions. He invites us to come to Him his burden is light.
John 10:10; The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
I have seen the burden created by selfish choices become overwhelming. I have seen that weight crush people and lives. I remind so many about the opportunity we have to respond differently. Release that burden, seek out God and His restoration. He can and will come to each one who seeks Him out.
The road we are going down will rob us from the joy and celebration of our victories. We won’t realize it until it is over. Then it will be too late. We must seek Jesus while he can be found.
Isaiah 55:6-7; Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near.
Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.
Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.
Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.