1 John 3:4

For sin is the transgression of the Law. (KJV)

In May at open gym before school lets out for the summer, I like to share a message with the boys to guard their hearts against foolish decisions by using some of their free time to stay in the Bible. You have likely seen the news stories about the trial of a man in Minnesota who killed two teenagers who invaded his house. There is a good chance that John Wall, the rising star of the Washington Wizards, cringed when he read the news reports. Here’s why from the archives of Final Score! Volume II.

In the spring of 2010 I shared a random story at open gym about a highly touted high school prospect from Durham, North Carolina, named John Wall. John was rated the number-one point guard nationally. Apparently, John and his friends entered a vacant home without permission. Fortunately, no one was harmed. John received a misdemeanor and began his college career as planned.

I told the boys that it is important to walk with Christ each day because the further you get separated from God the worse your choices are likely to be. The worse your choices are the worse your consequences will be. The teenagers had no business being in that house. One choice can lead to another choice and then another until one day you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Casting Crowns offered a stirring song called “Slow Fade” that I played for the boys. “It’s a slow fade, when you give yourself away … People never crumble in a day.” I shared with the boys that I wanted them to be really careful over the summer and not do foolish stuff. You usually don’t just do something really foolish unless you’ve done some less foolish stuff and gotten away with it. “Thoughts invade, choices made, a price will be paid when you give yourself away … ” It can happen to anyone when he or she lets his or her guard down.

John Wall was very fortunate. He could have been shot for being an intruder. His rise to fame made the story much more memorable. Wall signed with the University of Kentucky, arguably the most storied program in the history of college basketball. Immediately, he triggered a wave of enthusiasm and optimism in the Big Blue Nation that had not been seen since the 1997-98 season. A few overzealous Kentucky fans called him Blue Jesus, a takeoff on former New York Knicks star Earl “The Pearl” Monroe’s playground nickname of Black Jesus. Wall’s explosive speed to the basket with the ball is unparalleled, and he was the number one pick in the 2010 NBA draft. He led the Wildcats to an SEC championship, an Elite Eight appearance, and a 35-3 record. During the season, Wall endeared himself to UK fans by handling himself with poise, humility, and teamwork and played extremely hard at both ends of the floor. During the first semester, John had the highest GPA on the team and made the Freshman Academic All-SEC team during second semester.

But it could have all been for naught for John if the circumstances in that house had been different.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the mercy that you have shown me many times when I’ve done foolish stuff and I didn’t receive what I deserved. I thank you for your patience with me and your guiding hand that gives me a chance to convert for you. In Jesus’s name, amen.

How do you feel about God’s guiding hand of protection in our lives even when we don’t realize it?