I have just been introduced to a new game. Think of combining bumper cars, a basketball side court, a net turned vertically flat at the heights of a basketball net, high-lai type scoops that fit on your hand, and a plastic whiffle ball. Strap yourself into the car, remember to watch you blindside, keep you hand in the car at all times, and then try to see who can put the ball in their net as five compete against five for twelve grueling minutes. A referee watches from overhead, scoring each circle hit as two points and penalizing team by rewarding points to the opposition for using their hands or doing something that puts themselves at risk.
It is easy to guess what quickly happens. Gentle responses and cordial relations evaporate. Bumps become fewer however things happen with more venom and violence. Attempts to block shot attempts become flailing swings towards anything except the opposition's body trunk, and even that is not always safe. Loud slams, violent hits, and glorious crashes mix with teamwork, an occasional score, and intense competition.
The good news was that nobody was hurt. It does not always work that way. Metaphorically the comparison to life was easy. “Evil people relish malicious conversation; the ears of liars itch for dirty gossip.” (Proverbs 17.4)
Life is often chaotic, violent, and intense. We may try to run and hide in a quiet corner, however we are always getting nailed on our blind side when we least expect it. The hard part is to realize that there are people in life that look forward to inflicting pain, especially on those who are the most innocent. While whirlyball is set up for played in a particular way, in life we have a choice.
How do I relate to others? Does this change when they hit me without warning? Is my response driven by revenge?
God was hit harder we can ever imagine. His response was to carry through with what he started, giving a gift of unlimited mercy, love, and restoration. We can do the same.