One of the most touching moments in NBA history took place in a 2003 playoff game between the Portland Trailblazers and the Dallas Mavericks. Actually, it happened before the game began.
Natalie Gilbert was a 13-year-old 8th grader who had won the chance to sing the national anthem a capella before the game. Even though she had been in bed all day with a flu, she was determined to do her best. She was obviously nervous, and a few lines into the song, Natalie forgot the words. She stood there embarrassed in the spotlight in front the crowd and a national television audience. It had to be the most agonizing moment in Natalie’s young life - and everyone there was embarrassed for her as well.
But after only a few seconds of uncomfortable silence, Maurice Cheeks, the Trailblazers head coach walked to Natalie’s side, put his arm around her and helped her with the words. They started singing together, and soon the entire crowd was singing the national anthem. His act of helping Natalie brought the entire crowd into the song. There was thunderous cheering when they all reached the words, "o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"
Natalie messed up, but fortunately there was someone there to help her recover, and she finished strong. Wouldn't it be great if Christians would could come along side our brothers and sisters who have messed up and help them recover spiritually so they can finish strong?
Everybody messes up, even Christians. But we don't have a very good reputation for how we treat them. Someone has said that “the Christian army is the only army that shoots its wounded." When a Christian sins, and it becomes public knowledge, we often refer to them as "fallen." They haven’t fallen from salvation, they've fallen down in their walk with God. But instead of extending a hand to help them up, many Christians react by kicking them when they're down.
(From a sermon by David Dykes, How Should We Treat Someone Who Messed Up? 8/11/2010)
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