My son Tim and I love watching the St. Louis Cardinals play ball at Busch Stadium. Recently we had tickets to see the Cards stomp the Dodgers in a beautiful display of pitching and hitting. The most interesting aspect of the game, however, was what took place in the section of seats next to us. A sea of cardinal fans in red surrounded a lone Dodger fan decked out in a white jersey. Each time the Dodger left fielder Matt Kemp jogged out to his position, the Dodger fan unleashed a litany of verbal abuses against him. A true professional, Kemp just ignored the fan and focused on the game. After a few innings, the entire section of Cardinal fans began to cheer for Kemp as he made his way out to left field. That’s right. The Dodger fan berated him mercilessly while the home team fans cheered and clapped for him. The Cardinal fans, in addition to demonstrating why they are the best, most gracious fans in all of baseball (no bias here), completely silenced the belligerent and obnoxious Dodger fan.
As Christians, it seems we too have a habit of yelling at our own players instead of cheering for them. Even though we all worship in different ways and associate with different Christian groups, we are all blood washed believers in Jesus. The most important initial or insignia on our jersey is not the letter of our denomination or group, but the letter “J.” I wonder what would happen if we rose each day with the mindset of cheering one another on rather than trying to correct and criticize each other. Imagine if we focused on the amazing truths that unite us instead of the minor doctrinal differences that separate us (and have nothing to do with Christian orthodoxy). Too many believers, believing themselves to be the umpires, mistake unity of doctrine for the unity of faith. Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Let’s drown out that voice of derision and division by intentionally encouraging one another daily in the Lord. Just think how speechless the devil will be when we, as members of the same team, start cheering for each other regardless of where we attend church.