Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Overreaction Monday

The various hosts on ESPN Radio often use the term "Overreaction Monday" to describe the panic fans express as they digest a dismal performance by their team or key player over the weekend. The players, coaches, general managers should all be sacked! The season is doomed, they should trade their stars and build for the future!

Equally, the games, matches, plays of the weekend may have them over the moon and absolutely convinced that this is the year, the season, the opportunity they've been waiting a lifetime to see. The championship, premiership, moment in the sun will be there's when they're the last team standing. (After Round 1, Chip Kelly is the greatest coach ever and Michael Vick will lead the Philadelphia Eagles to the Promised Land in 2013!!!  Then they lost their next two games!)

This phenomena is particularly potent early in the year as fans (and media and coaches) attempt to grasp the potential of their team and players for the upcoming season. Week 1 every team is undefeated, but come Monday morning half the teams have a loss and the other half a win. One half begin second guessing all the off season player acquisitions and coaching moves. The other half are convinced their hiring and firing guys are geniuses.

Australian professional athletes have their own version of "Overreaction Monday" called "Mad Monday" which immediately follows the end of the regular season. Before the clubs have the chance to review the player list and delist or trade players, the players organize an end of season revelry that often gets out of hand. (Here's this year's 'mad' headline!) This custom is also overreaction as players overindulge in alcohol and in some cases assume, right or wrong, that this will be their last moment with these teammates.

Coaches beating each other up at a high school football game: OVERREACTION!  And the list of over passionate coaches, parents and players in youth sports could go on for a very long time.

I highlight these examples as a reminders of how often we all need to take a deep breath and consider the bigger picture before responding to specific events. When our families say or do something that surprises or shocks us, how often do we overreact? When things don't go our way on the job, do we overreact? Do we manage to keep perspective when something happens at church, or do we walk out the door at the smallest offense to find "the right fit for me"?

Jesus himself addresses this issue a couple of times. Overreaction Monday has been around for quite a long time! In Luke 9:51-55 a Samaritan village refused to give him a bed for the night. His disciples asked "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" (Wow, even the craziest football fans don't ask that question when they get mad at their team!) After pointing out their craziness, Jesus just walked on to another village and slept there.

In Matthew 13 Jesus told a parable about the devil planting weeds in God's field or kingdom. God's servants immediately wanted to pull out the weeds, but God said "No, because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

Overreaction Monday makes for great radio. It's passionate. It's interesting. It's opinionated. But it's also lacking perspective. God wants us, both as winners and losers, to show grace. In our family, job, school, church disputes, He wants us to step back and consider the bigger picture. Don't you be the person escalating and extending hurt by overreacting to perceived wrong doing. Confirm your perceptions and then prayerfully consider an appropriate response.  

It's never our job to call down fire from heaven on anyone's head... not even on Overreaction Monday!!!

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