In today’s society the faults of men and women are discussed far more than the positive things that we do. We live in a time of fast-paced tabloid led news magazines and online websites that thrive and thirst upon the errors of others; while those who have positive stories to tell either have no voice at all or it is to shallow to be heard.
Living in this kind of atmosphere can drives us into the pit falls of gossip, judgment of others, followers of the world’s beliefs and principles and one of the biggest traits that will cause a bottle-neck in your blessings: unforgiveness. There is no way we can possess them when there is bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness in our lives, this is a serious issue. Like Dap (Laurence Fishburne) said in Spike Lee’s film School Daze “Waaake Uuup” and understand that we are in a civilization right now in the world that is promoting, festering, stirring up, strife, bitterness and unforgiveness. Talk shows of all sorts are really into it, talking about how upset they are, angry, and how they are going to take revenge and get people back that hurt us. In the end bitterness and unforgiveness will take you down a road full of contention and strife against those close to you and even those people you don’t know. For Example, Manny Ramirez.
After forcing the Red Sox to trade him to the Los Angeles Dodgers Manny Ramirez with 53 games left in the season hit a whopping .396 and had become a clear fan favorite in the hearts of Dodgers fans. Manny plays the game with the heart of a five year old tee-ball player. Not a care in the world! Just happy to be wearing a uniform and playing a game that he loves. However, just when Ramirez had L.A. in the palm of his hands he and the rest of the baseball world find Manny’s amongst the rest of the players who names have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs by positive tests and the Mitchell Report: Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Juan Gonzalez, Barry Bonds and Rafael Palmeiro to name a few.
Ramirez had endeared himself to the fans in a way that has not been seen since Fernando Mania hit Chavez Ravine (The Location of Dodger Stadium). He has his own section called “MannyWood” where for the price of One-hundred dollars you get a Dreadlocked imitation Ramirez wig to wear, game tickets, plus food. So when the news broke that L.A.’s favorite Dodger was busted for using not a steroid but an illegal supplement that was a female fertility drug that boosts the normal production of testosterone. Manny would be suspended by MLB for 50 games and the onslaught of criticism Ramirez would receive was felt from coast to coast. “We hate you Manny” said by several Red Sox fans after he tested positive. Others laughed at him, Angel fans gloated at Dodgers fans because many people thought he should have been wearing a Angel uniform instead of Dodger blue.
Understandably, this comes with the position of being a Major League baseball Superstar along with the mistake he made by failing the drug test. But the part that is disturbing is the length of the hatred and unforgiveness. Never mind the fact that none of us are blameless. Just think about how many people will go to their graves with this in their hearts; baseball writers, fans who pass this poison pill of unforgiveness down to their children just because their star player has done something that they are not proud of is sad.
But getting back to the question what does it really mean to be forgiven? Well, in Isaiah 1:18 says “No Matter how deep the stain of your sin, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow…” Forgiveness means that God looks at us as though we have never sinned. We are blameless before him. That’s the true meaning of forgiveness folks.
Yesterday was the first time Manny was back at Dodger stadium since the 50 game suspension and to the credit of the Dodger fans they welcomed him back with loud cheers, hand claps and yes MannyWood was re-opened and the wigs were everywhere. Understandably so the Dodger fans were probably not excepting Manny back because of their spiritual beliefs but nevertheless it was a step in the right direction to helping a fellow man feel accepted back into a place that he loves.
In closing, if it’s an athlete, co-worker, friend or family-member don’t let your heart be led by unforgiveness. It’s unhealthy, it can destroy friendships, marriages, working relationships and last but not least it keeps you apart from Christ!
Peace and God Bless
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