Well it’s that time of year….March Madness!  Our family loves basketball and plans our day around what games are being played during the tournament.  I actually took a vacation day to watch games all day.  We draw teams out of the hat and have a small family gift prize for the winner!

The Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt game was a close one on opening tournament day.  Vanderbilt scored with just a few seconds to go in the game which put them up by one point.  One of the Vandy players thought they were DOWN by one point so he fouled Bryant McIntosh, the Northwestern player, (who actually played high school ball at Greensburg High school just a few miles up the road from me) to send him to the free throw line.  McIntosh hit both free throws putting Northwestern up by one point and as time ran out, those free throws proved to be the game winner.

The player from Vandy who fouled McIntosh felt horrible.  I actually shed a few tears myself for the kid even though I was cheering for Northwestern.  The announcers felt sorry for the player as they continued announcing the game trying to wrap their head around the events that just occurred.

But what I saw from his fellow teammates was touching.  They patted him on the head, hugged him and said “it’s okay”.  Quotes after the game included, “he has nothing to apologize for because we were not even close in that game without his [22 points].”  I’m sure deep down they were heartbroken and sick and probably a little angry but they felt terrible for that boy and knew it was a mistake – a costly one – but it was a mistake.  He was forgiven.

Yes that boy should have known the game situation, but he made a mistake.  We all make mistakes.  And thank goodness we have a God who forgives us, pats us on the head, gives us a hug and says, “it’s okay”.

No matter what we’ve done; no matter what mistakes we’ve made, God wants us to come to Him just as we are and to be a member of His team.  He wants us to forgive ourselves and let Him coach us as we march our way to victory in Jesus.  There’s no better championship than eternity in heaven.  It takes “March Madness” to a whole new level!