Updated: Oct 22, 2021
The following article was originally published in the Ashland Times-Gazette on 9/3/21.
As I was contemplating what to write for this article, my husband made a reference to an unlikely source of inspiration. I am not a golfer, but he is and one of his favorite things to do is watch YouTube golf videos. The video that he brought to my attention was titled, “How You Can Play CONSISTENT Golf!” He then stated that there could be an important life lesson to be learned from it.
The golf pro, Peter Finch, declares that one of the most common questions he is asked is how to become a more consistent golfer. He says that it has nothing to do with technique. He also states that “Golf is not a game of perfect. The only thing you have control over is how you think about shots, but more importantly, how you react to shots.” He recommends picking out a spot a few yards in front of you -- hit the shot, make a few remarks or gestures of reaction -- but once you cross that “line of no return,” you no longer think of or dwell on the shot. It’s in the past; it’s gone and you focus on the next shot.
He then makes this brilliant statement, “Consistency is not about hitting the ball perfect; consistency is about being able to play golf in the present without being hindered by the shots of the past. He declares “just think how much freer and how much more you’re going to enjoy your golf going forward.”
What does this have to do with life? There is a well-known verse in the Bible that states “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” Psalm 103:12 (NLT) God has forgiven (removed) our bad shots in life or sins and has left them behind the line of “no return.” The phrase “as far as the east is from the west” means that they can never meet. If God has forgiven us of our sins, why do we keep bringing them up? We’ve been told to “forgive and forget.” We, as humans, have a hard time forgetting. Perhaps this means we should not allow our sins to hinder our present. Those sins need to stay behind the “line of no return” and we need to learn to leave our reactions to those bad shots there as well.
In Philippians 3, the apostle Paul says “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)
Just as “golf is not a game of perfect” neither is life here on earth. It is only with God’s gift of salvation and forgiveness, and His power in our lives that we can learn to leave our past behind the “line of no return.”
Here's a song about God's mercy and grace: