Strike Three and You’re In
"Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’"1
When I was a kid growing up I loved to play football (rugby, I might add), but was never into baseball. However, I did know what the saying "strike three and you're out" meant. It meant if you missed hitting the third ball that was in, you were out!
Life can be like that too. If you keep missing the mark—of other's expectations of you—pretty soon you discover that you're out—at least on the outside and no longer with the in-group. You end up feeling and believing that you are a loser.
And then you consistently set yourself up to lose because that’s what you believe you are—a loser.
The opposite is also true. If you believe that you are a winner, you will act in a winning manner. Even when you fail at something, you will use it as a lesson to improve what you do and move on to another success and thereby reinforce your belief that you are a winner.
In other words, if you believe you're a loser, you will lose. Or if you believe you're a winner, you will win!
However, if we feel we are a loser, little by little we can change our belief about ourselves by building on our successes—no matter how small they are—and not on our failures. Every one of us can do something well if we choose to—even if we start by doing a good job sweeping the kitchen floor and taking pride in the fact that we did a good job, and then keep repeating this practice with other chores.
Unfortunately, too many people have the belief that they are either too bad or not good enough for God to accept them and they feel that, to Him, they are losers. Not so. With God you can strike out "seven times seventy" (ad infinitum) and you're still not out—unless you allow yourself to be.
With God no matter what we have ever done or have failed to do or how many times we have failed, we never strike out with Him. He loves us unconditionally. All we need to do is acknowledge the fact that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins, confess our sins and failures to God and ask for His forgiveness—and of course accept it with thanksgiving—and then little by little learn to forgive ourselves. That's what you call hitting the greatest home run of all.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that I never strike out with You. Thank You, too, that You forgive all my sins and failures when I confess them to You. Help me always to remember that when I accept Jesus as my Savior, I am a child of the King of Kings, and help me to truly believe this and live accordingly. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
Note: If you have never confessed your sins/sinfulness to God and accepted His forgiveness, read, “How to Be Sure You’re a Real Christian at: http://tinyurl.com/8glq9
1. Matthew 18:21-22 (NASB).