BY KEVIN WELBORN
I used to play football. Now I watch NCAA and NFL games on TV and realize that if I got hit by one of those guys my wife would be receiving a nice check in the mail from our insurance company.
Because I would be dead… I wasn’t sure if I was being clear. Perhaps, you thought that I had taken out a policy that paid my wife every time I was tackled by an opponent, which conjures up the image of my wife actively rooting for me to be tackled. Maybe that isn’t too far-fetched, but I was talking about life insurance.
My least favorite day of the week during football season was the day that we would watch the film from the previous game. We could’ve defeated our opponents soundly, yet there were always things to improve upon. That part I understand, you never play a truly perfect game. The aspect of film day that drove me nuts was the rarity of a positive comment even when you completed your assignment to the letter. On that rare occasion, you received a mere “nice job”.
I’ll never forget one Friday of my freshman year.
We had played on Thursday night, making Friday film day for the freshman squad. I will not name our opponent because I do not want to ostracize anyone from that town, but we beat those clowns like a drum.
Anyway, we file in to watch our game film and I was prepared to be reminded of all of my errors. A few plays in and I have not been reprimanded once and then the unthinkable happened. Our head coach mentioned on one play how I had dominated the kid across the line from me and then my position coach said, “Welborn did that all night”. This one simple statement was the largest compliment that I ever received on film day. This would’ve also been twenty years ago. I still remember it.
I remember zero specific criticisms. Not one.
What was my response to the coaches after this? I said nothing, but you better believe I was ready to run through a brick wall the next week at practice. It gave life to my bones. In fairness, I really had good coaches who were also good men and I believe they cared about us on a level deeper than football.
Too often in my preaching, I feel like I may emphasize the negative more than I illuminate the positive. The Bible is good for rebuke and we should hold our brothers and sisters in Christ accountable.
But, as Christians, are we quick to let a friend know that we recognize them doing well?
Maybe even in my article writings for the Back Row, though light-hearted, I have failed to acknowledge those who are doing well choosing rather to highlight imperfections that need to be addressed.
I see it. You are taking care of your elderly parent(s). You have chosen to live in a manner that honors God, even when open rebellion seemed easier at the time. You are praying with your family and discussing the things of God. Something that used to upset you and cause you to respond in anger now doesn’t visibly affect you, because you have matured in Christ. I see it. More importantly, God sees it.
Do you see someone doing well today? Don’t tell me, tell them. You will have made a closer friend and given life to their bones. They may well remember it twenty years later. Then tell me, I’d love to hear good news.
You will even reap benefit from recognizing good things in others. Christianity is not a competition between individuals and congregations. See the accomplishments of others in the same manner that you want your teammate to hit that shot, because it means you all win even if he/she gets his or her name in the paper.
Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad.
Kevin Welborn is the pastor at Highland Baptist Church in Clovis, NM. He is married and has two daughters. He loves his native Texas, sports, and exploring creation. The most famous person he has ever met is someone you have never heard of. You can contact Kevin on Twitter at @theKevinWelborn.