“When in doubt, call it OUT!”

Tennis is one of the few sports that does not have an umpire or referee, except at the pro level.  Each player is responsible to call his/her own lines.  Tennis is a “gentlemen’s” sport based on honesty, respect and good sportmanship.  But there is a joke in the tennis world.  If someone hits a ball close to the line and you are not sure if it is IN or OUT, you call it OUT.  “When in doubt, call it OUT!”

Now, through my years of juniors, college, and now ALTA (I am a weekend warrior when the kids do not have a game.), I have played against a few folks who live by this motto.  And quite frankly, I’m not sure how they can sleep at night or take any joy in winning if they have to cheat to do it.  For me personally and what I coach my kids, if it is too close to call or you are not sure, then give your opponent the benefit of the doubt.  I would rather lose with honor than feel like I cheated someone.

Life is a lot like tennis.  And I think we, especially followers of Jesus Christ, should always give others the benefit of the doubt.  If we are unsure about something or someone, then we need to err on the side of grace.  God’s grace is sufficient for me.  It is sufficient for me to receive, and it is sufficient for me to GIVE.  Listen, God has forgiven me of a WHOLE LOT, so I should be able to forgive others of a little.  If we are a blessing to others, then God promises that He will bless us.

I’ve been thinking/meditating lately on things like “the power of the both and”, fostering “win win” situations for everyone, keeping my life focused on the BIG PICTURE (eternal perspective), truly being “quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry”, etc.

I’m not sure if this post is making a lot of sense? I work really hard to be simple and clear, especially on Sunday mornings.  But “someone” recently commented on my blog that I am deep and complex.  Well, this one might be “deep”.  Or maybe not.  Some of you might find it elementary.  Whatever.  Anyway, I am rambling now.

Here is my encouragement:

When in doubt…love, forgive, extend grace, be generous, listen, be a blessing, pray.

You might not win every match or battle, but you will keep your integrity and character.  And you will certainly win the war!  The problem with most of us is that we don’t even realize what the “real” war is.  But that is another post for another day.

Is anyone out there picking up what I am putting down?

7 replies »

  1. ..hhmm, I think I pick up something…

    What I get is that even when I hear someone saying something or see someone doing something or I hear of somebody else doing x, y, or z, my impression and understanding of the situation can or cannot be totally accurate. I made me remember from our study on John when Jesus said “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment” (7:24).

    When Mary was anointing Jesus (John 12), Judas impression was “what a waste of money!”, but Jesus knew better -as usual, and said “leave her alone!”. Sometimes we assume we know and understand situations and even dare to think we know peoples’ hearts and motives; that attitude of assuming we know it all is in a sense, idolatry, as we are presuming to be all-knowing -we presume to be God. Humility on the other hand, always presumes that “I could be wrong”

    By the way, if I understood your point, it proves your blog is simple and easy to understand 🙂

      • The ball was clearly out!

        On a serious note – the lack of forgiveness really hurts us more than the other person. That and I have chosen not to remember certain things. Unfortunately the “win, win” only works, when the other party actually wants to “win, win.” That is, the attitude always works for me, but not for others. Some people take pride in seeing someone defeated. Tieg was telling me about his t-ball team, and some coaches wanting a win no matter what. Are you kidding me.

      • Speaking from 7 years experience of coaching softball and baseball, there are several coaches who need to “get a life”. These “over the top” TBall coaches are great examples of the ones who have no idea what the “real” war is. There are some TBall coaches who actually “scout” other TBall teams and practice/play TBall 4-5 times a week.

  2. It reminds me of the principle of servant leadership. Let me be less so that I can build up others and make them more. I think it is something that we must constantly practice and ask God for opportunities because our human nature is very self absorbed so we have to really open our eyes to find ways to be servant leaders.

  3. I’m catching what you are throwing! A great but simple verse that puts things in perspective is John 3:30 “HE must become greater, I must become less” In the heat of battle (For me-church league basketball, and T-Ball) this is difficult to remember but if our focus is “big picture” as you are describing then this a a verse that can get our focus back where it needs to be.

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