On Sunday I watched the Red Sox v. Yankees game with my son Jacob. This great rivalry always provides some fantastic games and yesterday was no exception. The game started with a bang early on when Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster hit Alex Rodriguez in the back of the arm with a pitch. It was a big moment at the beginning of the game because Rodriguez went on to score a run.
Alex Rodriguez is hated by many, many baseball fans. People in every stadium he plays in chant "cheater" and boo loudly when he steps on the field. Rodriguez has brought this on himself by lying about his use of PEDs (performance enhancing drugs). Those choices have brought all kinds of consequences into his life, consequences that he will have to live with for the rest of his life. He has ruined his reputation and tarnished a legacy of pretty amazing performance as a baseball player.
I don't think Rodriguez deserved to get beaned though. Ryan Dempster, however he feels about A-Rod, has not been appointed by anyone to hand out discipline on A-Rod. His choice to throw at Rodriguez hurt his team. It may have swung the momentum of the game and cost the Red Sox a win.
What impressed me was the self control Rodriguez showed. When he was hit by the pitch he didn't charge the mound like some idiot tough guy or start shooting off his mouth at the pitcher. He took his base, and made up his mind to pay Dempster back with his play on the field. Innings later he did just that, driving a Dempster fastball over the center field fence for a home run.
That is something good to be learned from A-Rod. You don't need to react in anger against those who oppose you. You can avoid playing the childish games they are playing. There is an appropriate way to get back at people. In sports, you do it by playing with integrity, hustle, determination, and character. More athletes should learn this. The way you pay people back is by beating them on the field and on the scoreboard.
The same thing holds true in our lives. The desire to get revenge and to hurt the ones who hurt us is strong. However, Jesus said that we should 'love our enemies and pray for those who oppose us.' The world says to punch when you're punched, take when things are taken from you, and fight for your rights, but Jesus reminds us that 'vengeance is mine to repay says the Lord.'
In this one way more people should strive to be like A-Rod. We must control our anger because as James reminds us, "anger does not produce the righteousness of God." When you feel oppressed or opposed remember A-Rod and they way he responded when he was beaned. Trust in the Lord and he will direct all your steps.