Do not be deceived…a man reaps what he sows.
So says the Epistle to the Galatians… and more recently Jim Harbaugh on twitter.
What has the Michigan head football coach so up in arms that he’s quoting scripture?
The firing of his replacement as coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Jim Tomsula. Harbaugh is dancing on the proverbial grave of the first year coach. The tweet seeming to legitimize stories from a year ago that Tomsula was in fact the architect of Harbaugh’s ouster. At the time Tomsula was serving as a defensive line coach for the team and reportedly used influence with the CEO to sabotage Harbaugh.
In other NFL news former Vikings mascot Ragnar had some sour grapes of his own to feast upon. After the mascot’s calls for a raise earlier this year fell on deaf ears at the Vikings organization, he was let go.
His response? He took to Fox television to publicly scorn his former employer, tossing a pair of horns into the snow and donning a Cheesehead. On the eve of the biggest border battle in years he even upped the ante by throwing in a “go pack go” at the end, just to rub it in.
Seemingly unrelated incidents, but oh so directly related. In both we see examples of disappointment turned into anger which morphed into spite.
Now you may think both of these incidents are childish and dumb, and you’d be right. And in the grand scheme of things neither matter, but I submit that they also highlight a larger trend. For too many of us today our success is only dictated by our opponent’s failures as our egos demand vengeance for every perceived wrong.
Spend five minutes on social media, or read the comments following an online news story for 1,000s of examples. At the heart of this is ego. Ego that leads us to scorn forgiveness.
The bible talks a lot about forgiveness, a concept that frequently only gets lip service today. People don’t buy into it because to society forgiveness is an outdated notion that leads adherents to become doormats and enable others to take advantage of them.
I think the biblical mandate for forgiveness is much different. It isn’t about opening ourselves up for more abuse, but about removing past abuse’s hold on us.
The nuance may seem small, and in petty examples like these insignificant. But when you think of all of the hurt that is out there it still serves as a reminder of how we are called to deal with it. Scores of people are facing much more than lost jobs or hurt pride. If every last one of them seeks vengeance the result will quickly spiral out of control.
We’re all both the hero and villain at times in life. Taking time to forgive your villains may take years, but the point is that the effort is worth it. Taking the high road and offering forgiveness may be difficult, but to a true believer it is also non-negotiable.