The boy coming up to pinch hit was by far the smallest player on his baseball team, but he approached the batter’s box with great zeal and determination. Pounding the plate with his bat, he eagerly awaited the first pitch.
Then, surprisingly, as soon as the pitcher went into his windup, the batter let out a yelp and ran out of the batter’s box. He stood about 10 feet away from home plate with his back to the pitcher and a grimace on his face. The pitch was over the plate, and the umpire called, “Strike one!”
The batter jumped back into the box and again pounded the plate with his bat. Again the pitcher’s initial move to the plate caused the young batter to retreat in fear. The umpire called, “Strike two!”
The exact same thing happened on the third pitch, and the batter went back to the bench.
My curiosity was answered by a conversation that took place behind me. One of the parents explained to another that the batter had been hit by a pitch previously, and now he was scared of the ball. As much as he wanted to dig in at the plate and smack the ball, his fear paralyzed him and prevented him from accomplishing his heart’s desire.
This reminded me of how some people have a great desire to be a part of the church, but they have been hurt in the past. The gossip, criticism or rejection that they experienced is still painful, and it paralyzes them. As much as they want to serve, they dare not risk feeling that awful pain all over again.
The church is made up of imperfect people who sometimes make hurtful mistakes, but let’s do our best not to inflict pain on others. We need every player we have to be in the game, giving their very best!
“Let your gentleness be evident to all…”—Philippians 4:5.