Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Vital Role of Forgiveness in Teamwork

Many years ago when I was teaching physics at Augustana College, one of the students in my class was Ken Anderson who later became a star quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals football team. The story is told that with only a few seconds left in one of the games, Ken threw a game winning pass right into the arms of one of his receivers in the end zone who promptly dropped it.

A reporter later asked Ken if he sharply criticized the player for dropping the ball. Ken said, “No, I didn’t and I would hope he would be as charitable to me the next time I throw it over his head.” Team sports teach us a great deal about forgiveness. In order to play successfully in a team sport you have to stay focused on what is happening at the present time and can’t be burdened by the baggage of yesterday’s failures.

To be successful in team sports, it is vitally important to learn from our failures, practice getting it right and then move on. Christianity teaches that the same applies to all of us in our daily lives. Not only do we have to forgive ourselves, but we have to be charitable to others who have done things that have been harmful to us. If we are going to be successful members of Christ’s Team improving the quality of life for everyone, we need to practice forgiving ourselves and others. The forgiveness that we receive from God through the death and resurrection of Jesus makes that possible.

Peace is found in prayer.
Robert C. Frank