This past Saturday, what should have been a light-hearted, fun loving experience of watching five-year-old kids and grandkids play basketball became a much more emotional game than it should have. We were laughing and carrying on before the game until my son-in-law noticed that we were playing a team called I-Slam. He recognized that it was a play on words. Remove the dash and it became the word “Islam.” It was obvious by the ethnicity of the other team that it was indeed meant to be Islam. The current world environment took over this simple little game. All of a sudden it became “American” kids vs. “Islam” kids! Both sides became way-over- the-top into the game. Of course, the “America” side started noticing that we were substituting which meant our “star” players were not on the court half of the game. However, the other team never substituted for their one “superstar” player. I know, I know…these were five-year-old kids and we as adults were acting childish. Both sides needed an adjustment. As irony would have it, the game ended up an 18-18 tie.
During the game, as a Christ-follower, I began asking myself how I should behave. My emotions had gotten swept up in the moment. Here is the candid answer that came to me out of God’s Word. Matthew 5, “14 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” We don’t’ pick and choose when light should shine. Christians, 24X7, should be shining our light to others for the glory of God.
So, after the game, I walked up to a couple parents on the other team and simply said, “What an exciting game! Your team was very good and your son played really well. I know you are proud.” At first, they seemed to be caught off guard but then responded to me warmly. As I talked to them a brief few moments, I noticed that a couple of other parents began listening in actually smiling at me.
You know what? It is a complicated world that we live in. Let’s never forget a straight-forward, clear statement that the Apostle Paul makes to us as believers in Jesus Christ about our world. Ephesians 6 declares, “12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Let’s not get caught up with people and comprehend the churn in this world is produced by the “prince and power of the air”, the devil. He relishes chaos. As Christians, we are called to be lights to our world no matter where we are.