Monday, September 29, 2008

A Notoriously Bad Decision

On the final day of the regular baseball season in 1927, Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run, establishing a record that would stand until Roger Maris broke it with 61 in 1961. Ruth was playing at that time with the New York Yankees, but he had previously played with the Boston Red Sox from 1914 through 1919. Although the Yankees shifted Ruth to the outfield, he was an outstanding pitcher with the Red Sox, throwing 29 2/3 scoreless innings in World Series play from 1916 through 1918. The Red Sox fans were dismayed when the team’s owner traded Ruth to the Yankees before the 1920 season to finance a musical production. Ruth went on to hit more home runs in 10 of the next 12 seasons than the entire Red Sox team. With Ruth’s trade to the Yankees, the Red Sox endured an 85-year drought without winning another World Series. It wasn’t until 2004 that the so-called “Curse of the Bambino” (Ruth’s nickname) was broken.

Have you ever made a decision that you were roundly criticized for making—whether justifiably or not? I doubt that most of our decisions are as monumental and as notorious as the one by the Red Sox owner to trade Ruth to the Yankees, but I suspect that in our own private worlds, they are equally painful at times. The question is, “What do we do when we’ve blown it?” If others have been negatively impacted by our decision, we can seek to right the wrong done to them—asking forgiveness and making restitution where possible. We also must learn to pick up the pieces and move on with our lives. Paul’s testimony to the Philippians is instructive at this point when he says that he forgets what lies behind and reaches forward to what lies ahead (Phil. 3:13). We cannot undo past mistakes, but we certainly can resolve not to live enslaved to the memory of them. Let’s press on together.

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