As young baseball players growing up in Dallas, Texas, we learned a valuable lesson that applies to all of life, and that is: Balance produces power. Our dad taught us that planting our feet firmly in the batter’s box gave us the best chance to swing hard and hit the long ball.
As we would step up to the plate Dad would shout, “Set your feet and swing hard!”
And swing hard we did – all the way through college and into the pros. It was true; the more firmly our feet were planted, the harder we could swing. (David: Unfortunately for Jason he couldn’t swing as hard as I could. Sorry, it’s just the truth).
In our first column – “Bottom of the 9th, America: Time to swing for the fence!” – we tried to inspire people to get back in the game. Over the next several weeks, we’re providing specific keys to victory when you decide to step on the field. And this week we’re talking about how to have power when swinging the bat.
On a daily basis in America, cultural ideas (we call these pitches) are being hurled at us at alarming speeds. When we were fired by HGTV for standing on traditional values, we found ourselves in the batter’s box trying to hit what seemed like 100 mph fastballs. Incoming pitches that fast are hard enough to hit, especially if your feet aren’t firmly planted.
Thankfully, we could stand confidently and face such pitches because our feet were firmly planted in God’s truth, which provided the balance we needed to swing powerfully.
On “The O’Reilly Factor,” we made a statement that “Jesus loves all people, but He does not love all ideas.” This simple statement gave us the balance we needed to swing at the pitches thrown our direction.
It is crucial today that we draw a distinction between ideas and individuals.
Unfortunately in our culture humanist thinking has taken root. The Humanist Manifesto adamantly rejects the dualistic nature of mind and body, which is a technical way of saying that there is no difference between ideas and individuals. If you reject someone’s idea, you are rejecting them as an individual. When this is the backdrop of cultural thinking, it’s really tough to swing the bat when you’re in the game. Essentially, hitting pitches becomes hitting people.
After studying the scripture for more than two decades, it is clear that God distinguishes between ideas and individuals. When it comes to ideas – especially those that set themselves against God’s boundaries for our lives – we are to identify and resist them. Yet, when it comes to the individuals held captive by those ideas, we are to love them and seek God’s best for their lives.
In Chapter 8 of the gospel of John, an angry mob of religious zealots came to stone a woman caught in adultery. Their desire was to defeat not only the idea of adultery but also the individual held captive by it. Jesus then introduced His amazing grace by protecting the woman (individual) when He said to the angry mob, “You without sin cast the first stone.” Then He spoke directly to her behavior (idea) by saying, “Go, and sin no more.”
Jesus delivered the individual yet defeated the idea. He did not simply protect the woman by sending the mob home, but He also dealt directly with her behavior by commanding that she stop. This balance is vital as we step up to the plate today.
Here are a couple points that will help us achieve this balance, which was actually one of our tweets from last week: “We must resist with boldness ideas that go against God’s ways, while reaching out with compassion to people who hold them.”
When you get in the game and want to swing the bat powerfully, you must get your feet firmly planted, and the best way to do this is to:
1) Resist ideas that are against God’s best. Understand that God puts boundaries in place that we may live, and any idea that stands against those boundaries should be resisted and rejected
2) Reach out to individuals who hold ideas against God’s best. We speak to them with no stones in our hand, and we remember the grace of Christ as He sent away our accusers.
Although 100 mph fastballs are hard to hit, they can be hit if our feet are firmly planted and we have balance.
Oh, and we almost forgot to mention – the harder they throw the ball, the further it goes when we hit it!