What would a football game be like without instant replays? If you watch a professional football game today on television, almost every play is highlighted on a replay so the viewing audience can pick the play apart and observe every unobservable nuance of the play. On Monday night I watched a few minutes of the Colts/Tampa Bay football game. I thought the receiver for the Indiana Colts made a near 50-yard catch, run and touchdown, but the instant replay showed he stepped out of bounds just before catching the ball. The play was called back. The guy had no idea his heal was across the line, but the replay showed his fault clearly.
What if we had instant replays in life? Can you imagine how helpful or hurtful it could be if every move could be scrutinized by those watching. How many of us have rhetorically asked, “What did I do?” or “Surely I didn’t say that…!” Someone could hit instant replay, and you would clearly see what you did to step out of bounds. Or maybe you could be vindicated because someone accused you of stepping out of bounds when you actually didn’t (touchdown!). Unfortunately we can’t do that, so we must go through life with a “non instant replay” disposition. That means we choose not to be dogmatic about many things and give one another grace and space to work on being the kind of person that acts and reacts with game winning precision. We do not always have the right perspective on every matter, and we would do well to be open to the fact that we may have “stepped out of bounds,” and we just don’t know it. When we give someone “grace and space”, that means we give them the space to grow and the grace to fail. The reality is, sometimes we “step out of bounds” because we’re not mature enough to recognize our error. In dealing with others, we must give people the space to grow up. Regarding grace, we’re all going to fail. I could write volumes on all of my failures, sins, and just dumb things I’ve done in my life. I am grateful for the people in my life that loved me in spite of my failures. There have been a few people in my life through the years that even picked me up and helped me get started again.
I think the opposite is true as well. Even though we do not have instant replays to confirm certain “plays,” we ought to work hard to see the good in people around us and applaud it. It is easy for all of us to focus on the big picture and miss all the wonderful small things people are doing around us. Maybe we should pledge to look for those things and acknowledge them when they happen.
So maybe not having instant replays in life makes life a little more uncertain, or at least our interpretation of it more inexact, but I think with God’s help and a little effort we can work with this handicap. Just remember – Grace and Space.