Our home sets on the sixth hole tee box of a 497-yard par five. The tee shot on the hole must be nearly perfect as the tee box is guarded on both sides by large trees. If you get your ball through the narrow corridor of woods the hole opens up enough for your ball to hit in the fairway. But, if you hook it left, you’re in the woods, slice it right and you’re in the pond.
This past year 778 golfers either hooked or sliced their shot bad enough to lose their golf ball. I know because that’s how many golf balls I collected on the sixth hole last year. Who knows how many more were lost on the other 17 holes.
A few days ago, I was pilfering through my buckets of golf balls, and it struck me that over a course of a year, that if I had 778 golf balls, that meant there had been at least 778 bad shots on the sixth hole alone. It also hit me that even though I had heard several weird sounds after errant shots and more than a few curse words, as far as I know, I had never seen one person give up, quit, go to the club house, put their clubs in their car, and go home. No, though they hit a bad shot, they continued to play their round of golf. Why? Because one shot does not make a round.
While a bunch of poor shots can put you in a bad mood and cause you to have a bad round of golf, you can have a bad shot or two and still shoot a good score. Even more, you can have an off day, come back the next and shoot par.
That’s important to remember and it makes for a good life principle too. Not every day is every decision going to be right down the middle. Once in a while you are going to hook a decision or slice a choice. It might be a business decision, the wrong word at the wrong time with a spouse, or a bad moment with your children, but that decision, wrong word, or bad moment doesn’t have to define you or your life.
Too often we feel like failures because we’ve made a couple of bad decisions or poor choices, but we all have bad moments, bad days, and even bad weeks, but we must not allow those moments to define us, corrupt our spirits, or cause us to quit.
Our adversary’s objective is always to get us to think, that one choice, one bad moment, was your defining moment. Give up, give in, and quit. His goal is to cause us to become discouraged, to give up on our marriages, to say I’m a failure as a parent. I’m here to say, don’t allow a bad decision or moment define you. Keep fighting. Keep swinging. Keep playing the game. You can still win. God is for you!
How do I know? The Bible shows us. A woman had not one bad swing, but five, and was in the midst of another bad swing. She had five husbands and was getting involved with man number six. Society had discarded her, religion had likely abandoned her, but not Jesus. He shows up, adjusts her perspective, offers her grace, gives her hope, and by the end of the day, she is inviting people she had been avoiding in the morning to come and meet the man who had changed her life. This was no one day, happy, good feeling moment, this was a realigning of her vision and allowing her to see herself as Jesus did. That’s what God wants to do for you.
If 778 golfers can keep playing after a bad shot, if Simon Peter can go from a man of denial to a man of destiny, and Paul can go from a terrorist to an evangelist, then what is your excuse? Get up. Keep fighting. If you fail, make this life decision. That from this day forward I will get up one more time than I fall.