We were playing Clue (the Spanish version), and I was just one step away from winning – I had known it was Mrs. Peacock in the Patio for ages, and had just discovered that she did away with Mr. Nobody by way of Poison. All I had to do was await my next turn. I meticulously checked my little sheet, acting as if I were marking something… I was so close. Then, all of a sudden, and to my despair, I was sent back to my home space, a good distance away from the middle where I was about to arrive in order to make my final guess.
At this moment, in my mind, I gave up – pretending that I didn’t care by overreacting about how much I didn’t care. In the next couple of moves, someone else made it to the middle, guessed correctly, and won the game. I quickly started putting away the pieces, making excuses for my loss, “Well, it’s the Spanish version.” and “I just don’t like that you can play those cards whenever you want.” I might as well have said, “I hate that I lost the game, and I find no joy in the fact that someone else won who wasn’t me. In fact, I resent it.”
I realized in those moments that I was having a bad attitude, and I vowed never to play the game again (as though it were the game’s fault that I had reacted so strongly). I realize now that my resentment had nothing to do with circumstances, rules, or the other players… it had to do solely with my heart.
There are so many times that we react based on our initial feelings instead of truth. In this case, I wanted to be the clever one, the one who had made the right deductions, the one who using his craft and cunning, had victoriously won the game of Clue in record time, the amateur Clue players among me declaring, “Oh, Terrill, how ever did you guess the cards so quickly? You’re a Clue expert!” Then I would humbly state, “Oh now, now… it takes time to know the nicks and crannies of such a complex game.” ...In short, I had unrealistic expectations, lacking patience, and a heap of pride, all things that hindered me from responding based on truth.
I can’t help but constantly thank God that He is God. The Creator of all things, all concepts. A God that responds perfectly, because it’s who He is. In Paul’s first letter to Timothy he states that “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16).
Can we even imagine what perfect patience looks like? Loving someone no matter what they do, no matter how many times they mess up, no matter how frustrating they may make us feel? Really putting aside our conceit in order to care for others? To mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those who rejoice… And Paul is saying that as the foremost sinner, Christ displays his perfect patience as an example. What would this type of patience look like in my game of Clue? I think I would have enjoyed what was instead of having expectations. The fact that I’m able to be alive, sitting with these amazing people, playing a board game in the Dominican Republic. I would be glad for those who won, and equally glad for those who lost. Because it’s not about the game! It never was... It’s about something more important! It's about the heart – the heart of each and every.
I think the thing that I keep failing to realize is that I’m still on this journey. I still have to learn how to react to things based on truth instead of my own feelings. I have to learn to be patient on this journey, not expecting things to change in the moment or in a week. Renewal and transformation is a process, a difficult and necessary one. Yet one that brings us from Death to Life – from Bound to Free, from Forfeit to Redemption. It’s a process that I’m not able to do myself. I must rely on the source of all perfect things!
Because although my patience runs thin, His does not.
My arrogance hinders me, His does not.
I can’t renew myself, He created me.
I can’t transform myself, He died for me.
My love fails, His is everlasting.