Posted by: ritagone | August 17, 2016

The Opposite of Grace

One of the most heartbreaking things I’ve seen in a long time happened during last Monday night’s Olympic coverage of the first round of the 110-meter7f1c0425f5fe42dd439f57006089479a-1 men’s hurdles, when France’s Wilhem Belocian left the blocks a split second before the starting pistol sounded.

Six years ago this controversially harsh rule change went into effect, stating that an athlete is ousted the first time they commit a false start. No second chance. Out. In effect, Belocian’s Olympic dreams were shattered before he even had a chance to run a single step.

To say that Belocian was distraught is an understatement. He was gutted. (That’s him pictured immediately afterwards, distraught beyond belief, understandably.)

Can you imagine?

All of his training, every single hope and dream, wiped away in a single misstep. Gone. Done. Over.

If ever there was a picture of the antithesis of the grace God metes out to us, this is it. Over and over again, we have false starts, we stumble, take off in the wrong direction, are in error more than correct, and yet God stands us up and gives us that tiny nudge we need to get us going again.

Can you imagine what life would be like if we were under the indictment of the kind of rules set forth by those who changed track and field regulations to make the sport “run more smoothly” or to make things more user friendly to the TV audience? One “strike” and you’re out, knocked down by the powers that be and penalized harshly and permanently, no questions asked, no second chance.

What a world!

Fortunately, God is much more forgiving than the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations), and we – you and I – have not only a second chance when we false start but a third and a fourth and a fiftieth.

Sometimes you can see and understand grace much better by seeing and understanding its polar opposite. That’s what happened on Monday night with Wilhem Belocian.

And my heart broke for him because he was on the wrong end of the grace spectrum.

 

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