Swallowing Your Whistle

March 11, 2024

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression,
bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”
– Isaiah 1:17 (ESV)

It had been a back-and-forth game and the officials were calling it tight. The whistles had blown repeatedly leading to constant trips to the free throw line. With time running out, it was obvious the game would be decided on the last possession. The determined athlete penetrated the defense and drove for the basket. In what seemed to be slow motion, he lowered his shoulder, put up a shot and was knocked to the floor by the defender. Everyone in the arena anticipated the whistle that never came. How could that be? How could the officials swallow their whistles when the outcome of the game was on the line? Shouts could be heard from the court, the bench and the stands, “It’s not fair, you’ve got to make that call.”

As I reflect on this basketball scenario, I’m reminded how often this happens in my daily life. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I want to do good. I strive to be kind to people. I hold doors for those carrying a heavy load and I greet strangers with a smile on my face and an encouraging word. Honesty and integrity are values that are important to me. I want to be fair in my dealings with others and I don’t want to be too quick to judge. Yet as hard as I try to do these things, there are still times when I swallow my whistle. I fail to speak up when an offensive joke is being told at my gym. I don’t make the effort to find out why that middle school student is having a bad day. I make a snap judgement about the guy pumping gas next to me only to have him speak encouragement into me. Lord, forgive me for the times I swallow my whistle. Help me to see others through Your eyes and with Your love. Above all, keep me humble.

Heavenly Father, help me to stand up for the oppressed today. Give me the courage to speak truth even when is difficult. Keep me humble when I begin to think too highly of myself. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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