I just love this time of year, because it's the time when we can put on our baseball caps and head out to the ball park. Whether it's Little Leagues or big leagues, there's nothing like the sights and smells and sounds of a baseball game.
Here's a baseball. Do any of you have a baseball that you play with?
One of the rules of baseball is that the batter only gets three chances to swing that bat and try to make a hit. Each time you swing and miss it's called a strike — and boy, I sure had plenty of strikes when I was playing baseball! If the batter swings and misses three times, the batter is out — he has to let the next player come to bat. That's why you hear people say, "Three strikes and you're out!"
Those umpires aren't very forgiving. They don't say, "well, you look like you're trying hard today, so I'll give you five strikes." No, it's just the rule: three strikes and you're out — no more, no less.
But when Jesus talked to His followers about forgiveness, He used a different king of rule. When someone has done something wrong to us, He didn't say "Three strikes and they're out!" He didn't even say to allow seven strikes! Jesus told His followers — and He tells us — that forgiveness isn't something you can put a number or a limit on. Forgiveness keeps on forgiving.
That's tough, isn't it? Sometimes we don't feel like forgiving someone for what they've done. But the wonderful news is that God has forgiven us much more than we will ever be asked to forgive other people. And His love and forgiveness just keep on going.
Baseball needs rules like "Three strikes and you're out," but when it comes to forgiving others, Jesus' rule is much better: keep forgiving others the way God has forgiven us! (JMD)

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