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You're Gonna Play!

Omar
March 31, 2015

“No! No! No! Leave me alone . . . I don’t want to play anymore!”

I whipped my head around only to catch an older and much bigger boy roughly “tag” a much younger and smaller boy. The game they were playing was called “tag,” but it could have been mistaken for football. The younger boy was taking a beating—literally!

One older boy particularly made it his special mission to harass and bully the boy by tagging him so roughly that the poor kid was knocked to the ground several times and once ended up running into some playground equipment. The equipment definitely won that encounter.

As I watched the younger boy’s mother step in to rescue her son from the “game,” I couldn’t help but hear the following interaction:

Mother: “Are you OK?!”

Son: “Yeah, mom. I’m just more embarrassed than anything.”

Mom [interrupting]: “It didn’t look like you were embarrassed. It looked like you were really getting hurt out there!”

Son: “Mommmmm! You’re overreacting . . . again!”

Mom [dusting her son off and trying to clean his face and neck with a wet wipe]: “OK . . . tell me what happened.”

Son: “OK, but you’ve got to promise not to interrupt me or get angry with me.”

Mom [clearly annoyed and sighing deeply]: “OK!”

Son: “I know you told me not to play with that group of boys because they were a lot bigger and older . . . and rougher, but . . . well . . . it looked like they were having a lot more fun than my group . . . ”

Mom [interrupting]: “I told you that this would ha . . . ” 

Son: “Mom, you promised!”

Mom: “Sorry . . . please go on.”

Son: “Thanks. Anyhow, so when I first went over and introduced myself, all the boys looked at me and laughed. Some called me names and all the rest of them just ignored me, but one boy seemed real nice. He talked to me, told me his name, and asked me if I wanted to play tag with him and his friends. I got excited and started playing. Everything was going great for a little bit and then all his friends started ganging up on me and tagging me really hard.

“I was faster than a lot of them were and a lot harder to tag, so I guess that made them angry when they finally tagged me. But they weren’t chasing anybody else, and I got tired quick. When I started slowing down, they became angrier at me—they weren’t ever really happy with me in the first place—and they started calling me ugly names again and instead of tagging me, they started hitting and pushing me . . . hard.

“The more I complained the more they pushed me and the harder they hit . . . until [the boy started crying softly] the boy who I thought was my friend told me that I couldn’t quit. He told me ‘you’re gonna play!’ because once I started, ‘I was his!’ and couldn’t stop until he told me I was done! Mom, I was really scared! I mean, that boy was really mean, and he was the biggest bully of all. I guess what made it so bad was that at first he acted like my friend, and he pretended that he really cared about me. Mom, I learned my lesson, and I won’t ever disobey you again. Your rules are to keep me safe. Thanks, Mom. I love you.”

I don’t really have to spell it all out for you do I? You know who is represented by the boy, the Mom, and the bully don’t you?

A long time ago another parent told His children the rules and warned them to stay away from the bully, but they thought that playing with him looked a lot more exciting. It’s all been downhill ever since. It’s been said that, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”[i]

“ ‘This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

‘This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is’ ” (John 3:16-21, MSG).[ii]



[i] Accessed on March 26, 2015 from http://www.jesussite.com/resources/quotes/sin/

[ii] Scripture quotation from The Message. Copyright © by Eugene H. Peterson, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. 

Photo by Shan Jeniah Burton



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