The leaves are turning brown, the rainy weather is upon us and baseball has been put to bed for a few months before spring training will again grace us with the hope of a new season.
Many of you are not baseball fans, so the events of last week may have gone unnoticed as the end of October passed us by. As two teams played for baseball’s highest honor and trophy, an incident that was not baseball related caught my eye. Yu Darvish, who is a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers was pitching and he was really successful in keeping one of the Houston Astros hitters from having much success hitting the ball. When this player from the Astros, Yuli Gurriel, hit a homerun, he was seen making a derogatory gesture at Yu Darvish and uttering an unkind phrase on camera.
The media was licking it’s chops just waiting for a really dramatic, ugly interchange and offense to be picked up by the Japanese born pitcher who is generally soft spoken and a true professional.
They would be sorely disappointed with the dignified response from Yu Darvish. He sent out the following message,
“No one is perfect.
That includes both you and I.
What he had done today isn’t right, but I believe we should put our effort into learning rather than accuse him. If we can take something from this, that is a giant step for mankind. Since we are living in such a wonderful world, let's stay positive and move forward instead of focusing on anger. I'm counting on everyone's big love.”
Gurriel was humbled and told the press that he didn’t want to offend the pitcher or anyone else and he apologized for his actions – he even agreed to meet with the pitcher to give an apology in person. Darvish declined a meeting, telling him that he was willing to forgive the offense, not wanting any further trauma to befall Gurriel or his family because of the incident.
This was one of the rare times that I have been truly inspired by the response of a professional athlete who was disrespected. The usual response is one of lashing out, a war of words and disrespect paid for disrespect that thinly veils the true hurt the words had caused.
On baseball’s biggest stage, Yu Darvish separated himself as a man who embodies the spirit of grace and forgiveness that Jesus calls us to show one another. The command of Jesus is to love one another – and that includes those who have hurt us. Darvish is counting on everyone’s “big love.”
In the end, last night when Gurriel stepped to the plate to face Yu Darvish, the pitcher, Gurriel tipped his cap in respect and honor before getting into the batter’s box. It was a gesture that signaled that big love had once again triumphed over ugliness and lack of civility and decency.
Do you have any offenses you have been holding onto that you need to let go of? Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you allow the other person off the hook in receiving justice – it just includes the willingness to personally execute the judgment or retribution. Someone said, “unforgiveness is like drinking poison, all the while hoping that the other person dies.” Is today the day that you finally give someone or something over to the Lord and let go of the offense you have been carrying? Maybe your next step toward this is just sharing with a friend your situation and getting them to pray and help you in this direction.
God’s big love is more than you need to help you accomplish this.
Today, may His love overflow in you, and change the world as we know it.
-Andrew Burchett, Lead Pastor