Forgiveness at the Ballpark

Former Boston Red Sox Hall-of-Fame third baseman Wade Boggs used to hate going to Yankee Stadium. Not because of the Yankees—they never gave him that much trouble—but because of a fan. That’s right: one fan.

The guy had a box seat close to the field, and when the Red Sox were in town, he would torment Boggs by shouting obscenities and insults. It’s hard to imagine one fan getting under a player’s skin, but apparently this guy had the recipe.

One day before the game, as Boggs was warming up, the fan began his typical routine, yelling, “Boggs, you stink” and variations on that theme. Boggs decided he’d had enough. He walked directly over to the man, who was sitting in the stands with his friends, and said, “Hey fella, are you the guy who’s always yelling at me?” The man said, “Yeah, it’s me. What are you going to do about it?”

Wade took a new baseball out of his pocket, autographed it, tossed it to the man, and went back to the field to continue his pre-game routine.

The man never yelled at Boggs again; in fact, he became one of Wade’s biggest fans at Yankee Stadium.

At times, forgiveness can have some wonderful side benefits, such as turning enemies into friends. As wonderful as that might be, it is still not the primary reason to forgive. We forgive for what it does for us. We forgive because it takes the anger and resentment away and makes room for love, creativity, and joy.

We also forgive for another very important reason. We forgive because this is what Jesus does. As Christians, it is our desire to be like Jesus. That means that we should be willing to forgive, even if forgiveness carried no side benefits at all. We forgive because Jesus forgives.

With Faith,