OCTOBER 17

Foul Ball

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise. EPHESIANS 5:15

I've often wondered why more people don't get hurt by foul balls that are hit into the stands during a baseball game. You'd think it would happen almost every time, especially those line drives that carom through an entire seating section. But even on those occasions when a stray ball does leave a lump or a bruise, you can hardly blame the batter, can you? I mean, he's not out to intentionally harm anyone. It's just what happens in the flow of the game, right?

That's probably not the way Baltimore Orioles' Jay Gibbons felt not long ago when he fouled a pitch straight back over the screen. That's because this time, his wayward swing didn't threaten a nine-year-old sitting there with his cap and glove or a hot-dog vendor walking the steps or a pair of buddies taking in a game together.

No, Jay's foul ball hit his own wife right in the ribcage.

He didn't mean to. It wasn't intentional.

This story reminded me of those sarcastic remarks we sometimes let slip. Or those little unkind things we foul off. Or those grunts we utter when we think the magazine article we're reading is much more interesting and important than what the wife is saying.

A foul ball can hurt as much as a direct hit. A fairly insignificant slight or accusation—especially when it's allowed to fester and accumulate and build on the last one—can bruise your relationship. That's why you must guard against minor, offhand offenses. Stop occasionally and go see if your words are hurting anyone—your spouse, a child or a friend.

Careless words. A lapse in judgment. Foul balls. And foul words. But whether intended or not, they can still carom with enough speed to wound and injure the ones you love the most.

DISCUSS

How do you two usually handle the little "foul tips" that occur from time to time in your relationship?

PRAY

Ask God to make you immediately aware of any offense you commit toward your spouse.

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