On Thursday, July 11th, Shannon Stone took his son, Cooper, to see the Rangers play some baseball. Six-year-old Cooper’s favorite player was All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton. At one point during the game, Josh tossed a foul ball into the stands and Shannon attempted to catch it for his son. As he reached over the railing, he lost his balance and fell headlong to the concrete slab twenty feet below. He died as he was being rushed to the hospital. This unimaginably horrific incident played out as his son sat alone in the stands.
After the game, the Rangers’ owner and CEO (Nolan Ryan) addressed the press. He said that the team was distraught and when asked how Josh Hamilton was doing, he noted that he was taking it pretty hard.
How would you respond if Josh had a press conference and nonchalantly said that he regretted that the man fell and, while Josh chomped on his gum, said he was sorry? What if his body language spoke of someone who really didn’t care about the man who lost his life or his family? I’ll tell you what would have happened … Josh would have become the object of disdain from everyone watching.
Everything within us knows that even though the event was not Josh’s fault, he was part of an event that cost a man his life. His obvious signs of remorse would be a natural response for anyone with a conscience. In fact, his sorrow would be necessary because of the gravity of the event … someone died!
In Joel 2:12, God called out to His people to return to Him. He instructed them: “Even now – this is the Lord’s declaration – turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning.”
So, the people of Israel were not simply to “chomp on their gum” and nonchalantly ask God to forgive them. They were to come with obvious signs of remorse. Why? Because it was the natural and necessary response for actions that led to a man’s death. In fact, whenever you and I sin (every time we sin), those actions play a significant part in that same man’s death … on the cross.
While Josh Hamilton’s actions were not the cause of Shannon Stone’s death, our sins were precisely what caused the death of God’s dear Son, Jesus. Wouldn’t it be appropriate for us to show the same signs of remorse as Josh Hamilton when we come to the Father and ask for forgiveness?