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Go To The Box

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Go To The Box

Written by Dean Clark

Dave "Tiger" Williams is not really a well-known hockey name that comes to mind however, Williams has a top spot in the annals of NHL history.  Williams was a decent goal score, playing on the same line in the 1980-1981 All-Star game with Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossey.  So why is Tiger famous?  He is the most penalized hockey player in NHL history with 3966 minutes in 962 games. (Source:  You do the math.

We have all been there, done that.  We hear the whistle, we see the referee's hand up and we know we are headed to the sin-bin to sit for 2 minutes while our teammates attempt to keep the score where it was before we took the penalty.  What has amazed me are the players who argue the whole way to the box even though their penalty is known by all.  Recently at a game a friend who I know pretty well off the ice was assessed a match penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.  I was amazed!  This individual would no less hurt a fly and would definitely not do the penalty he was called for but to his credit he skated off the ice and owned the penalty.

Penalties are like the sins we commit.  On the ice we sometimes get away with hooking or tripping someone and sometimes we get called for the penalty.  In our lives, this is not the case because God, the Creator of the Universe sees everything we do, even knowing the thoughts we have, nothing is hidden from His eye.

Ezekiel is an Old Testament book that describes the captivity of the nation of Israel by the nation of Babylon. Israel is miserable in Babylon and over and over again the people ask Ezekiel, "Why are we here in captivity?" Ezekiel continually reminds them they are in captivity because of their sin against God but the Israelites believe they are being punished for the sins of their fathers.  That would be like Alex Randazzo being penalized today for his dad's penalty when Rick played for Army several years ago.

In chapter 18 of Ezekiel, God sets the record straight with the nation of Israel.  God is saying in this chapter, "No Israel! You are being punished for the sin you have committed and are suffering for you own sin."  Here's the wonderful thing about God though.  Ezekiel 18:32 "For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live."  Do you see that?  Do you see that God wants the nation of Israel to turn back to Him because He has no pleasure in them perishing?  The same applies to each one of us.  We are all sinners, Romans 3:23 and God knows we are sinners Romans 6:23.  The good news is that in God's infinite mercy sent his Son, Jesus, to die for our sins and take the penalty for our sins by dying on a cross, 2000 years ago, 1 Peter 2:24 and 3:18.  God wants us to repent and turn to him by putting our faith and our trust in Jesus, Romans 10:9, 10, 13.  Will you do that today?

Maybe you are already a Christian and have trusted Jesus but you are blaming everyone else for the sins you are committing.  God tells us in Ezekiel 18:1-18 that each individual will be held accountable for their own sin. Own the sin, confess the sin to God, 1 John 1:9, and allow God to create in you a clean heart like he did in David after his sin with Bathsheba and his murdering of Uriah.  Ps51.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?  If no, read the passages mentioned in Romans and 1 Peter and discuss with someone who you know is a Christian.  Ask them to help you understand what it means to be a Christian.
  1. Do you have an issue with unconfessed sin or sin you just don't want to own? Talk to a Christian adult who understands sin and can help you walk through your struggles.
  1. Are there teammates/friends/parents you need confess a sin to, to heal your relationship with them?
  1. Ezekiel 18 in its entirety.
  1. Peace Making for Families by Ken Sande

Additional Reading

About the Author 

Dean Clark lives in Louisville, Ky. and is a member of the FCA Hockey Board of Directors.  Dean and his wife Raina have to married daughters who skated, one in figure skating and the other hockey.  Outside of the hockey world, Dean makes a living as an airline pilot for a large brown freight company. He has been an avid fan of hockey but only started playing 6 years ago and loves the competitive nature of the sport!

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