I spend most Saturdays in January and February refereeing games for Lubbock’s Upward Basketball program that several of our churches host. I called about 5 games Saturday. I was tired. But I still kind of enjoyed it. Until I went to the store on my way home.
The thing about Upward Sports is it is a Christian based program and we encourage parents and the crowd to focus on the positive things thereby teaching the kids to do the same. It is pretty amazing. Even when I blow a call, which I do, occasionally, there is little negative feedback. I know I blew it and I work hard at not letting that happen so often.
But in the store getting some milk for the family a funny thing was happening. I had forgotten to remove my ref shirt. It looks pretty authentic. Just missing a patch that connects me to the UIL organization. But the shoppers didn’t notice. I received some looks that let me know they had condemned me already for my role on the court. Someone tried to hand me their glasses to help me see. (not really:) ) But I stood out, in a not so pleasant way!
Guilt by association is a scary thing. I do it. Someone is dressed a certain way. Someone has certain mannerisms. Has too much hair. Or not enough (God forbid). Each of us has a list. Oh it is a secret list for sure, maybe shared with those we allow into our inner circle. But we have the list.
In Jesus that list was torn up. Thrown away. An early writer made a list of pretty bad people and said, “that’s what some of you were, before…” but not now.
I’ll remember to leave the ref jersey in the office next week, I hope. But more than that, I hope I leave my list as well. God looks at the hearts of people. I hope to see a little deeper as well.