As sports fans, we know we are crazy! We somehow think our superstitions affect the outcome of the game, and our yelling toward the refs cause them to make calls in our team’s favor.

The reality is, our role is to stay out of the way, cheer, and watch the players on the field.

Our involvement changes, however, when a foul ball comes our way. It’s thrilling to catch one, and appropriate to stick out our hands or glove to try and snag it…unless, of course, you’re Steve Bartman.

During Game 6 of the NLCS in 2003, the infamous Cubs fan did what any fan in that moment would do – he reached out to catch a foul ball from his seat. Unfortunately by doing so, he prevented Moises Alou from catching it and getting the out for Chicago.

They not only lost the game, and their World Series drought continued for another 13 years, but Bartman was considered a scapegoat and contributor to the Cubs’ curse.

Disappearing from the public eye, the outcome has been tough on him and his family for all these years. But since the Cubs won the World Series last season, there has been a crazy turn of events.

The franchise recently presented Steve Bartman his own World Series ring in an attempt to symbolize closure for all of them.

Bartman issued a statement yesterday saying, “I am relieved and hopeful that the saga of the 2003 foul ball incident surrounding my family and me is finally over. I am hopeful this ring gesture will be the start of an important healing and reconciliation process for all involved.’’

I’m very glad to hear the Cubs have reached out in this way, but when stepping back to look at the big picture, it’s sad that he was ever blamed and ridiculed to begin with.

The fact he needs healing and reconciliation, after attempting to catch a foul ball, is hard to fathom. Nonetheless, it’s a real situation that he’s had to face for many years.

Many of us can relate to these genuine feelings of pain and embarrassment, as well as, his need for closure. Maybe we’ve convinced ourselves that we are to blame for something going wrong and continue to beat ourselves up about it.

Or maybe we are buying into the lie that we should continue being condemned for something we did in the past because people on the outside continue bringing it up.

There are situations that we must seek closure, and through Jesus, we can rest in grace and freedom to experience healing and peace. We no longer have to be dragged down by an unfortunate incident from our past.

True reconciliation is rooted in Jesus, and His power within us allows us to move forward and let go. When we give our lives and hearts to Jesus, any condemnation is removed and replaced with grace, so we can rest in the forgiveness God has shown us.

A kind gesture or being affirmed by someone that it’s okay to move on may help in this process, but lasting healing takes place in our hearts, and we must focus on the truth.

Romans 8:1(AMP) affirms, “Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior].”

1 Corinthians 1:30 (AMP) tells us, “But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God [revealing His plan of salvation], and righteousness [making us acceptable to God], and sanctification [making us holy and setting us apart for God], and redemption [providing our ransom from the penalty for sin]…”

Today, whether we’re still hanging onto a past mistake or dealing with something we shouldn’t be blamed for, let’s remember the salvation, reconciliation, and freedom that are found in the powerful work of Jesus.

I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for providing me the needed freedom and grace from my past. I pray I wouldn’t continue to dwell on my mistakes or keep blaming myself for something I did, but instead focus on the power of reconciliation that is available because of Jesus’ work on the cross. I pray this in His name, Amen.