August 12, 2017
Colossians 3:12-13 - Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
There is only one unforgivable sin.
But, if you are from Chicago, or are a died-in-the-wool Cubs fan, there is a second sin which you might think is mighty close. That sin was committed 14 years ago by one individual: a fellow by the name of Steve Bartman.
For those of you who don't remember, the year was 2003 and the Cubs were in the National League Championship Series. They were five outs away from an appearance in the World Series. It was then the batter on the opposing team hit a foul ball. It appeared the Cubs outfielder might be able to snag that foul for an out. That was when Steve Bartman, a loyal Cubs fan, reached down with his baseball glove and deflected the ball.
There were a number of things which happened because of Bartman's error: the Cubs had to wait more than a decade for their World Series win. Steve Bartman had to be escorted from the stadium and was given police protection from those who wanted to kill him (really).
Since then, people have endlessly asked, "What would happen if only Steve hadn't ...?"
But now, hopefully, things have changed. You see, the Chicago Cubs have decided to give Steve Bartman a World Series ring of his very own. They did so saying, "We hope this provides closure on an unfortunate chapter of the story that has perpetuated throughout our quest to win a long-awaited World Series."
In other words, Steve Bartman is forgiven.
You know, it took more than a bit of gold and a few diamonds to win our forgiveness for all the Laws of the Lord that we have broken. Jesus Christ, God's only Son and our Savior, was born into the world for the express purpose of offering Himself as the price necessary to reconcile us with the Lord. The Redeemer's entire life from cradle to grave and beyond was dedicated to fulfilling the Laws we had desecrated and resisting all the temptations which we had found to be so very inviting.
Although innocent of any wrongdoing, our sins were laid upon Jesus, and He carried them to the cross where He died the death, which we had deserved. Now because of what the risen Christ has done all who are brought to Him in faith are forgiven and saved.
To be released from sin's curse is a wonderful, blood-bought gift, which calls for a response from us who are the undeserving recipients. And what is that response? Simple. We need to forgive others as we have been forgiven.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for all that my Savior has done, for His selfless sacrifice and continuous caring, I give thanks. Now grant that I may be able to forgive others as completely as I have been forgiven. This I ask in the Redeemer's Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Gina Carey for Newser on July 31, 2017. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: http://www.newser.com/story/246535/cubs-make-peace-with-steve-bartman-in-a-big-way.html
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries