Last month, the New York Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs. Though they are well known for their lineup of hitters, the Bronx Bombers had a hard time connecting with the ball. They lost close, low scoring games.
People are quick to point the finger when consistent winners like the Yankees lose. Third basemen Alex Rodriguez was one of the players fans blamed first. Rodriguez batted poorly throughout the playoffs. Because he draws a large salary, many thought Rodriguez was particularly responsible for the team’s poor performance.
I read an article this week that noted a symbol of the fans’ blame. During their last series, a frustrated fan painted a sign for Rodriguez. He stood in the stands at Yankee Stadium and held it high for everyone to see. It read, “A-Rod…Redeem Yourself.”
That fan’s sign represents a common mindset in our society: we need to redeem ourselves. In the case of the Yankees, a few more hits, a few more RBI’s will fix everything that went wrong in the past. Redemption is a swing away. If we just work harder and do a little better, we can fix it.
There is an obvious spiritual parallel to the message on that sign. Humans feel like we need to redeem ourselves from the brokenness of our past. Many are trying. We are doing our best. We are working hard to do the right thing. We get frustrated because it isn’t producing the results we want.
The Apostle Paul suggests that it will never produce lasting results. Paul writes to the church in Ephesus: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Redemption is not something we earn by performing better, but a gift given to us by God.
As you go through the coming week, call on God for grace. Stand in the bleachers of your life holding up a sign: “Jesus…Redeem Me.” The good news is that Jesus will. By calling on Jesus, and getting to know Jesus, we will be set free from the strikeouts of the past.