The girl's skills were astounding on the court.
During basketball practice she was brilliant on both offense and defense.
She could stick with the person she was guarding like a young Jedi foreseeing the future. Her reflexes were fast. No one could stop her.
Then came her first High School game in which, of course, she started.
To everyone's surprise, her play could not have been more timid and stiff. She stayed far enough away from her opponent that that person could shoot at will. Meanwhile, passes and plays went by her like she was stuck in cement.
The next day at practice she was again a superstar.
This pattern continued for weeks.
Neither she nor her coaches understood why until one day they discovered and confronted a simple misconception the girl held about the game.
It turns out, the young lady believed that once you fouled out in a game, you could no longer play Basketball, ever! So she dared not play with passion.
As soon as it was explained that fouling out is a temporary thing, that she could return the next game, she threw herself into her sport with all her heart.
An amazing number of people share her misconception when it comes to life. They believe they've already fouled out.
Perhaps they believe they're really close. So their jobs and relationships drain of passion.
They are afraid to let people know about their past and to know them as they really are.
They are afraid to try new things. After all, how could they deal with another failure?
Many a physical prisoner chooses to stay behind bars believing they dare not get out and try again. Many a free person is actually behind bars that are just as strong, though not physical.
Even Christians fall into the trap of fearing to foul out.
Billy Sunday, a great preacher from the past, is quoted as saying, "The best thing that could happen to a man would be to get saved at a revival meeting, and then walk out and get run over by a truck."
Nothing could be farther from the truth or from the abundant life Jesus offers.
That life is a life lived in a never-ending river of forgiveness.
We fail, confess, repent and go for it again. God intends for life to be lived like children, running and jumping with joy. And when children fall in the mud? Sometimes they cry. Sometimes they laugh at themselves. But they always get back up and run again.
Surely that is the meaning of Easter that we just celebrated. Forgiveness is offered through Jesus' sacrifice and new life is offered through the power of his new life, his resurrection.
No matter how bad our past fouls or how many, through Jesus we're never out of the game.
Charles R. "Rick" Cupp is a minister with the Kenai Fellowship, a Church of Christ, Mile 8.5 Kenai Spur Highway in Kenai.
Sunday Bible classes are at 10 a.m., worship at 11:15 a.m., and Wednesday worship and Bible classes are at 7 p.m.
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