Discipleship Thought began as a weekly email from First Baptist Church at the Mall's Discipleship Pastor, Mark Bedwell, to his Sunday Morning Connect Group Leadership Team. These Thoughts were meant as a weekly encouragement, point to ponder, break from the day and sometimes even meant to make you stop and say "hmmm?"

We hope you find encouragement. Feel free to pass this along to someone who might need a little encouragement today!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Iniquity: [ɪˈnɪkwɪtɪ]  [from Latin inīquitās, from inīquus unfair; disrespectful act, dishonest, violation of the law, absence of respect, lack of spiritual values, sin

I could just see the look of frustration on New Orleans kicker Garrett Hartley’s face.  The Saints had fought so hard to make it into overtime….drive the length of the field…and give him the opportunity to score the winning field goal to defeat the Atlanta Falcons.  As he stood there watching the kick soar past the goal post…the sounds of “wide left” must have echoed in his ears.  He had missed the kick and the Saints went on to lose the game. 

I could just imagine the next morning….Garrett waking up in his suburb condo just outside the city skirts of New Orleans…opening the Times Picayune paper and seeing his image and those words...
 “Wide Left” splattered across the front page of the newspaper.  I could imagine the humiliation that he must have felt as he drove through Plantation Coffee House to order a tall latte…as he looked at the cashier and he knew….that they knew….that he knew….what they were thinking about…”Wide Left.”  I could just imagine him showing up at practice on Monday and entering the locker room…wondering if the quieting whispers were about the missed kick…..wondering what the coach would say…or wouldn’t say…..wondering if owner Tom Benson would be angry…or even worse….would be willing to trade this Oklahoma bred phenom kicker to another team. 

I could just imagine the hundreds of kicks that Garrett took on Monday morning from 29 yards out….making that kick over and over and over….wondering why it didn’t go in the day before.  I could just imagine the sports writers sitting in the stands at practice….wondering and writing the same thing.  “Wide Left” would be two words that Garrett Hartley would be forced to remember all year.  In front of a National Television audience,  in front of New Orleans, Tom Benson…and even in front of God…he blew it.  Here’s where the irony is going to kick in (sorry for the pun) during this discipleship thought……I don’t feel sorry for Garrett Hartley.  You heard me.  Garrett will be fine.  He made his mistake in front of so many people with so much accountability that he almost has NO CHOICE but to get over, and NO CHOICE but to learn from it.  He will have to work harder, rebuild trust, say the right things, have the right attitude.  Since all the world was watching….he has all the world to remind him…hold him accountable… and hold him up to the standard that he needs to be at….a guy who makes field goals on Sunday.  For better or worse…his iniquity has been exposed.

It isn’t Garrett who I feel sorry for…it is the other guys on the team. It is the guys who had their own moments of failure, who committed their own iniquities, who missed their own  assignments, who dropped their own catches, who fumbled their own carries, who missed their own tackles…..the guys who in their own way Sunday in the New Orleans Superdome were ……”Wide Left”…..so to speak….but simply were not exposed.  You see this is where iniquity seems to jump up and get us…where it sneaks in and becomes a normal part of our life.  These guys…the pass droppers, fumblers, and tackle missers all now have a scape goat…and an excuse.  They do HAVE A CHOICE on whether or not to deal with their shortcomings.  They DO HAVE A CHOICE whether or not to learn from it, step up, or even deal with it.  They could simply choose to look at Garrett Hartley and state with clear conscience…that “he is the reason that we lost this game”…..thus never dealing with their own mistakes, shortcomings and failures.  By not being in the spotlight of error…they may actually be hurting themselves from getting the help and growth they need.   You see…if they don’t recognize their own “Wide Lefts”, they won’t gain one once of wisdom and growth from this experience……but pay attention my friends…..HE WILL.  Kind of seems like being exposed isn’t the end of the world after all.  Could that be right?

You see…we all mess up.  We all slip.  We all sin. I think a lot of times our prayer is simply “not to get caught”…..not to be the last one failing as the clock is winding down.  We hope that someone else will draw the attention away from us so that no one notices our misses, our wrong choices, and our faults….and even worse….the hope is that we ourselves can be distracted from our misses, our wrong choices, and our faults….and NOT have to deal with them.  The win has become “not being exposed.”  The reality is that “wide left” is “wide left” whether the world knows it or not.  God is not fooled by our distractions. HE  knows all of our iniquities and shortcomings.  It is time that we change the win from “not getting caught” to being the best that God wants me to be.  For this to happen….it will probably mean that you and I need to shine some light on those dark little secrets, those missed tackles, those stored up iniquities that we hope never surface….bring them to the surface…..and let God deal with them.  Garrett is doing that this week.  He has no choice.  “He missed wide left” in front of everybody.” 

This week, may you deal with the “wide lefts” in your life.  May our iniquities be exposed so that we will be forced to deal with them…so that we will have accountability…so that we will have to work through the humility process of admitting we are not perfect. May you be humble enough to be honest and grow from the experience. May you realize that sometimes we just miss the mark.  May you not make excuses.  May you not let other’s public iniquities overshadow your private ones.  May those cause you to bring light to those dark places.  May you ALLOW God to bring you into His light so that He may examine, clean, and heal. May you be a useful part of the team.  May you not be so quick to judge “wide left” but may we be quicker to help, quicker to notice your own, quicker to be honest, and quicker to heal.   May you never stop kicking and may you never let the enemy tell you that you are a failure.  May you simply “get caught” and “get right” with God.

Discipleship Thought originally created 9/28/10

 Blessed is he
       whose transgressions are forgiven,
       whose sins are covered.
 Blessed is the man
       whose sin the LORD does not count against him
       and in whose spirit is no deceit.
 When I kept silent,
       my bones wasted away
       through my groaning all day long.
 For day and night
       your hand was heavy upon me;
       my strength was sapped
       as in the heat of summer.
 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
       and did not cover up my iniquity.
       I said, "I will confess
       my transgressions to the LORD "—
       and you forgave
       the guilt of my sin.
       Selah      - Psalm 32

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