A very unfortunate scene took place in Boston’s Fenway Park when Baltimore was in town this past Monday night. Red Sox fans were heard taunting Orioles’ center fielder, Adam Jones, with racist and hurtful insults.
Of course, it’s unacceptable behavior and the Red Sox organization and Major League Baseball have spoken out against this type of language from the fans.
A redemptive response occurred the following night when the two teams played again. This time the Red Sox fans throughout the stadium gave Adam Jones a standing ovation when he came to the plate. This clearly demonstrated that the select few racist fans didn’t represent their entire fan base.
The fallout and questions surrounding the issue of fans’ behavior and derogatory comments coming from the stands is ongoing. ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote an article with the headline, “MLB Must Declare War on Racist Language at Ballparks,” while emphasizing the importance of change and how this problem must be taken seriously.
The league and individual stadiums should absolutely make sure the fans are living up to a certain standard, and clearly enforce consequences for this type of behavior.
It’s also crucial that the mature fans in the stadium hold the people sitting next to them accountable. Fans need to know there’s an acceptable way to act, and when they cross the line they will be called out by each other. This allows everyone to enjoy the game to its fullest, and not be distracted by foolishness.
When I think about stadium behavior, and the standard fans should be held, I see the parallel to life outside of the ballpark. When we decide to be a follower of Jesus, there is a new life we are called to live with a high standard to pursue.
We can no longer act any way we please because God has provided guidelines for us to live, and has given us His spirit to empower us to follow His way.
We know there are moments when we get off track and find ourselves caught up in foolishness. However, similarly to fans sitting in the stadium, these are the times our brothers in Christ need to call us out with love, grace, and truth.
As followers of Jesus, we need to take sin, repentance, and accountability seriously. We rest in the grace we have through Jesus, but God has shown us the way He desires us to live. When we don’t, it must be addressed by each other. Similarly to Olney’s thoughts on baseball, “We must declare war” on the sin that is holding us back.
The concept of fans looking out for other fans and brothers watching brothers is explained in Luke 17:3 (AMP): “Pay attention and always be on guard [looking out for one another]! If your brother sins and disregards God’s precepts, solemnly warn him; and if he repents and changes, forgive him.”
Today, let’s be encouraged to keep seeking God and His ways, while also gracefully and lovingly watching out for each other…so that foolishness isn’t taking away from enjoying Him to the fullest.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I pray that You would continue to show me the way You’ve called me to live. Please give me humility to be pointed in the right direction by others. Help me pursue forgiveness, repentance, and grace. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.