Saturday, September 15, 2012

How to Deal With Penalties in Life

People often joke about my last name, Mulligan, because it's used in golf to describe a shot so bad that a "do over" is requested.  How often in your life have you done something you wished you could do over again?  It could be as simple as being penalized for failing to change your oil every 3,000 miles and getting hit with a huge auto repair bill or as complicated as a penalty for a helmet-to-helmet collision with an opponent.

In football, depending on the size of the foul, the team loses yards.  In life, the size of the infraction also determines how many yards are lost.  There are no mulligans, only consequences.  The best way to handle penalties is to avoid them in the first place.  Here are some thoughts about how to handle penalties in life:

  1. Holding.  This has to do with holding on to material things or people who don't want you to cling to them.  This is a costly penalty.  Learn to let go.
  2. Interference.  Allow others to live their lives without any meddling from you.  Parents are guilty of this because they want what's best for their children.  This penalty is related to holding because it prevents others from becoming the people they were created to be.  Your children are not meant to live your dreams, they have their own.  
  3. Delay of game.  The clock on your life is running.  Stop wasting time in the huddle and make plays.  The "no huddle" offense works well when you want more action and more results.
  4. Unsportsmanlike conduct.  You don't need to earn a reputation for excessive celebration every time you make a big play.  Instead of basking in the spotlight, take a moment to thank your Creator for giving you the gifts that allowed you to get in the end zone.
  5. Illegal contact.  Respect the boundaries of your marriage.  Avoid situations that tempt you.  Your team is counting on you to move forward.
Jesus is your referee.  Don't fight with Him.  The next time you face a penalty, ask Him to forgive you.  Every penalty is forgivable.  All you have to do is ask.

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