Love on the sidelines

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

There’s a lot of hate filling the airwaves these days.  There is a lot of division and taking sides, from around the corner to around the world.

It makes my heart heavy.

There are valid conversations and strong opinions on every side, based on the emotional baggage of our past experiences.  We could fight each other other until we’re bloody and more wounded than before.

Or we could choose to love.  

Before you get all fired up, ready to tell me about punishment, what someone ‘deserves,’ and fighting for our rights, please hear me out.  My view of love might be a little different than you think.

The only way I can explain it is to share a story.

One of the hardest things I’m learning about being a mother is, with the depth of love and allegiance so strong toward my babies, it can easily blind me to empathy and compassion for others.

When I hear someone mistreats, or is even unkind to one of my boys, my blood pressure instantly rises.  If I don’t stop, breathe and think before I respond, my response is usually defensive.

If someone hurts them intentionally. . . oh just watch out.  

One day on the soccer field, a dad (on our team) was yelling at my son with disgust for not making the right move.  I heard his booming voice for about the 10th time too many, and I came completely unglued.  I flew out of my seat and got right in his face, with no regard for the fact that he was three times my size.  I pointed my finger and (yelled at him) telling him to never yell at my son again.

I walked back to my seat filled with rage, shaking like an addict.  (not one of my proudest moments)

Do you know what he did?

He started walking toward me.  I saw him out of the corner of my eye and my heart was pounding.  He leaned down and said, I’d like to introduce myself.  I’m…. and I can see that I’ve really upset you.  I’m so sorry about that.  My intent is never to yell at individual players.  I’ve just been a coach for so long, I can’t help but get vocal during these games.  I’m really sorry.


What just happened there?

What happened is this; for weeks on end, I’d been building a story in my mind about how judgmental and mean this guy was.  How he hated my son for his apparent lack of skill and how he was determined to bring him down.

But I was wrong.

Yes, he was yelling.  No, it’s not the way I would parent.  And no, I still don’t appreciate it or agree, but now I see him in a totally different light.   I see him as a guy, so filled with emotion and intensity for the game, that he can’t help but yell.

Most importantly, I can see that his yelling really has nothing to do with me or my son.  It’s about him.

A change in vantage point changes everything.  

I can turn to him with a laugh and a, Whoa, dude, dial it down, instead of completely loosing my cool and behaving like a fool.  I can see him for who he is.  It might take me a second, but I can have empathy for where he’s coming from and realize that it’s not about me or my son, at all.

Of course this story is not one of physical violence or torture.  That’s not the point I’m making.

I’m talking about the way we treat one another on the sidelines.

When we’re watching from the outside with all our own “stuff” boiling up.   When our natural, physical bodies beg to respond with all we’ve got.  When our cortisol levels are soaring.  When our defensive swords and shields are drawn for the war of words with one another.

When we post and comment on social media.

No matter your faith or religion, I think we could all agree that we need a little more love.

Love is patient, Love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered.

It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always preservers.

Love never fails.

~ 1 Cor. 13:4-8

To more of that,


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