I am not a sports fanatic. I watch bits of football games when I happen to be in the room in which they are playing on the TV. I do not know the rules of the game, the names of prominent players, or who is ahead of whom in the ratings.
On occasion I have witnessed a player being penalized for “unnecessary roughness.” This penalty is called when, after a play is completed, one player intentionally pushes, steps on, or punches a player on the opposing team. The pushing, stepping on, or punching does not advance the player’s purpose in being on the field, and his unnecessary roughness results in his whole team being penalized.
I have seen parents who were unnecessarily rough with their children and pet owners who were unnecessarily rough with their dogs. Unnecessary roughness never brings about a good result.
Some people are unnecessarily rough on themselves. I fall into this category. I find it hard to forgive myself for any blunder I make, large or small. I berate myself, call myself all manner of ugly names, and sometimes even shut down for a while in order to marinate in my self-torment .
Why do I do this? Does this unnecessary roughness result in my being more careful and diligent in the future? It does not. What it does do is take me down the miserable road that eventually leads to self-pity.
The ironic thing is that I am very understanding of other people who make mistakes. After all, they are fallible, broken humans.
Who do I think I am?
As in other areas of my life, pride has managed to corrupt my thinking in such situations. I become so inwardly focused upon my failure that nothing else matters. Never mind that other people are relying upon me to fill some role. I have convinced myself that I am useless and might as well check out. Poor, poor me.
In chapter 21 of First Kings, we read of a king who became so frustrated with himself for a perceived failure on his part that he “lay on his bed sulking and refused to eat.” This was, of course, evil King Ahab, who was exceeded in his vileness only by his wife, Jezebel. It is hard for me to ascribe any good intention or action to this evil woman. However, when she observed her husband beating himself up and indulging in self-pity, she gave him some good advice. She told King Ahab to get up and eat. The situation could be remedied. Essentially, what she said to him was, “Will you just get over yourself?”
When I practice internal unnecessary roughness, I penalize not only myself but also everyone else within my realm of influence. At those times, someone should tell me to get over myself.
Where is Jezebel when I need her?