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Hey, I messed up…..

By February 28, 2019 609 Comments

Golf is such an interesting sport/game.  One of the most unique aspects are the rules.  While you are playing a round of golf there are no referee’s or officials out there watching you to see if you break any rules.  In fact, as you may already know, a golfer is responsible to call a “foul” or breach of rule on him or herself.  This is where the saying “golf is a gentlemen’s game” comes from.  Now I don’t mean to get anyone upset by using this reference. In this day I guess that saying could be “offensive.”  What this saying means and what I want to write about is that how golf is a game of character.  A “gentlemen,” while playing golf, is supposed to hold themselves accountable to the rules and let their playing partners know if they mess up. Golfers are held to a higher standard in their game.  When I watch other sports I see many athletes intentionally break the rules or one of my favorites is “flopping.”  Flopping is acting like some hurt you or fouled you when in fact they didn’t to trick the referee into calling a foul on your opponent.  This is dishonest and wastes time during the game.  Golfers don’t do this. 

In my experience professional golfers won’t play another shot until they talk to their playing partners or call in an official if they even think they broke a rule.  I’ve seen experienced professionals call in an official for a drop out of a hazard area.  This is something so simple and remedial that they’ve done hundreds of times before yet they still call in an official because they want to do it the correct way. Also in my experience, I have never seen a bad situation happen after a player has confessed breaking a rule or that has been called out for doing so. Sure, it would be understandable for them to be upset but golfers are ready to accept the penalty for their actions.  This is the character issue I’m highlighting. I’ve seen other athletes physically attack other players or officials for calling fouls on them.  This doesn’t happen in golf.  Two good examples of this are Dustin Johnson in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits and Lexi Thompson a couple of years ago in the desert.  Both players had penalties called on them, were both upset (it cost them the championship), yet they professionally accepted their consequences. 

How about the honesty of the golfer who calls a penalty on themselves even when their competitor didn’t see it?  There is something special that happens when a golfer confesses a breach of rule they committed to their playing partners.  I have never seen an opposing golfer condemn the confessing golf for breaking the rule.  The result of the confession is honesty, respect, graciousness, compassion, and admiration.  Let me know if I’m wrong here.  It sets an example of what other golfers should do in that situation and builds respect for that player and the game. I couldn’t be able to tell you how many other professionals and other golfers around the world felt bad for Dustin Johnson when that happened to him in the PGA. There was an outpouring of support for him.  No one called him a cheater. The character of confessing that you, as a golfer, broke a rule is what makes this game so interesting.
We all mess up.  Not all golfers are perfect but this game holds you to a higher standard and asks you to be honest.  Golf asks that we carry this over from the course into our lives off the course as well.  God, our referee or official of life, asks the same of us in our lives.  Lets take a look at an example of this out of Genesis 3.  Here, Adam and Eve have been deceived by the serpent and had eaten the forbidden fruit.  They had breached the rule, fouled, sinned.  In verse 8-9 it says, “the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden……..and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” What I find interesting here is that we see the character of man/woman. Adam and Even sinned and then hid!  They knew they messed up. I’d say that most of us do the same when we sin or break a rule against someone.  We try and conceal the sin or mistake. What about when we sin against God?  Do you hide or try and push it aside? I know I have tried. Since God appointed Adam as our legal representative for all mankind his sin is passed down to all of us. Because of their sin we are all sinners. We can’t hide from sin as we are born with this sinful nature. See Psalm 51:5.
 What’s also fascinating in this text is we have God walking in the garden and Adam and Eve are trying to hide from Him. God knows exactly where they are and what they did!  But here He gives them an opportunity to come out and talk with Him.  He wants to talk about their struggle. Yes, He gives them consequences of their sin, but He’s showing His character of a relational, loving God. Even though we are sinners God doesn’t want us to hide from Him. This is why Jesus had to come and die on the cross! John 3:16-17!  “God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son…….For God did not send his Son in tho the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him!” God’s character is loving, relational, redemptive, and forgiving. We are never too far gone nor have the ability to escape God’s love and grace. We can’t hide from it but we can miss it.  This text gives us a great example of what God asks of us. When we feel convicted of our sin against God, He wants us to come to Him and confess it to Him.  He made a way through Jesus for His love for us to endure, for our sins to be forgiven, and for us to have salvation and righteousness! These things are far greater than what happens on the golf course! 
Proverbs 28:13 “Whoever conceals their sin does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy”
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us of our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”
Leviticus 5:5 “When anyone become aware that they are guilty in any of these matters, they must confess in what way they have sinned.”

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