The other morning while watching the Olympics, I gazed at the Russian skating team on the podium singing jubilantly at the playing of their national anthem and I teared up for just a moment.
That has never happened before.
Oh, I’ve gotten teary eyed a thousand times through the years when American Olympians have stood there singing our beloved Star Spangled Banner, but not for the former USSR. After all, I was taught growing up that they were the “bad guys.” Can you relate?
But yesterday, when I looked at the home team from Sochi yucking it up after their team victory, I think for just a moment that I saw them the way God sees them. No different than any of the rest of us but rather members of the same “team” as you and I. People who are born into a world of struggle but above all, people who Jesus died for.
Oh don’t get me wrong. I still pull for the USA during the events just like I pull for all of my favorite teams. I still appreciate the fact that I have been privileged to call “home” the most blessed country on planet Earth and cheering for Team USA sort of a way to express that appreciation, not withstanding the hard work that all athletes endure.
But in reading John 3: 16 again, I noticed that it says that “God so loved the world that he gave his son…”
Sometimes I’m afraid, I thought that as an American that I had a more privileged status than the “bad guys.” Thank God for a renewal of thought that eventually washes away stereotypes and false narratives ingrained in me for as long as I can remember.
For just a brief moment, maybe it was God’s perspective that brought tears to my eyes. It was a solemn reminder to me that Jesus died for all members of the human race. And perhaps, as a co-member of that race, I should always pull for all of the “runners” with equal love and compassion.
Something to think about.