I remember sitting there in the bullpen and just being so frustrated that my father-in-law said, “We really need to look at some of the judgments you’ve been making.” Because the scripture says “Do not judge and you will not be judged.” (Luke 6:37). The implication is that if you judge people, you will also be judged and those judgments can come back to you.
My father-in-law shared something really wise: he said that as long as you are judging people, nothing changes. Marriage is a good example. If you’re always judging your spouse about the negative things that go on, saying (out loud or to yourself), “I wish you wouldn’t be like this, I wish you wouldn’t be like that,” it seems like nothing ever changes. Well, no wonder it never changes! The scriptures tell us not to judge. When you judge, it comes back to you because you don’t forgive the people you judge. In other words, forgiveness is impossible as long as we judge, and without forgiveness, things don’t change.
And so there I was at the ballpark, praying a lot about this because I was getting frustrated with the management, and maybe even frustrated with how things were going in the field. One day in September, I was walking the outfield thinking about this, and I found myself getting angry.
So I sat down right there in the outfield and I said, “God, you tell me where I’ve judged people. I want to know! Because I feel like I’m a pretty good person.” I started going over everybody in my mind. And then I had an idea. I said, “You know what, I’m going to start naming names.” I went out and walked to every position on the field. I walked the outfield, I walked the infield, I walked to every position. And at each position, I started naming the guys that played there.
And it was unbelievably devastating to me. God showed me how I had judged each and every one of my teammates throughout the course of the year. And He reminded me of where I had judged them. And I literally felt like crying because it was just so sad to see it all at once like that.
But I was also happy that He showed me those things. It opened the door to forgiveness and change. Now, I didn’t go to each guy and ask for forgiveness from each one of them, but out there on the field, I asked God for forgiveness for what I did.
And I remember walking back in the clubhouse that day in late September, just looking at my teammates, and truly enjoying each and every one of them. I’ve never really had that experience. I’ve always enjoyed the teams I’ve been on, but you know, you don’t actually enjoy each and every guy. You just deal with some, and enjoy others! So this experience was incredibly special, because I was able to do that. I was able to actually enjoy them — all of them.
Next time, I’ll tell you what happened next, how forgiveness is always followed by hope! See you Tuesday.