Confession, Serena Williams, and Justice

Confession #1: I used to look down my nose at women who played tennis, deciding they were snotty rich suburban women who had nothing more meaningful to do with their time.

Confession # 2: I started playing tennis this summer and am on a team of the worst players in the universe. (

Confession #3: I’m enjoying it.  I think it brings balance to my life.  And I think I also have a meaningful life outside of this sport, so either I was wrong before, or I’m deluded now and I really am a loser.

All that was prelude to Confession #4:  Today I lost a match that I thought was totally unfair, and I was totally ticked, and it was really hard to be Jesusy about it.

Why was it unfair you ask?  Because I was playing against SERENA WILLIAMS in the “worst-players-in-the-universe-league”!!!  Clearly Serena got confused and went to the wrong court!

Ok, maybe it wasn’t ACTUALLY Serena Williams, but it might as well have been.  The girl I played belonged in this league about as much as Serena would have.  She was a ringer and she took this deal veeeerrrry seriously.  Like U.S. Open seriously.                  It was a grave injustice.

This made it hard:

  1. not to get killed as tennis balls rocketed towards me at 200 m.p.h.
  2. to pray “Come Holy Spirit, help me to be gracious” WHILE I was dodging the balls coming at me, AND saying “Great shot” repeatedly through gritted teeth.

It struck me as quite bizarre that God might be using this stupid tennis match to actually form something in me…

  • To submit to something that felt unfair.
  • To put my pride to death and resist reporting her to the highest authorities in tennis world for public censure on the nightly news.
  • To humble myself to listen receptively when she told me after the match all the mistakes I had made.
  • To genuinely affirm the talent I saw in her.                                                                   (Lest you think I handled this with Mother Theresa-like poise and grace, I did call and rant to my daughter Maggie after the match)
  • Probably most important, it prompted me to do something for people who are TRULY experiencing injustice by taking action in the International Justice Mission’s campaign to stop Human Trafficking.  (You can too!  If I can do this ANYONE can!)

When have you gotten angry at something that hasn’t been fair?  Is it something you’ve challenged, or covered with grace?

I think both are appropriate in different situations. How do you determine when to do which?

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