They all believed that they were free to do as they wished with little thought of the consequences or how their actions might be felt, perceived, or viewed by others. Sue Barker, the BBC’s tennis commentator and presenter, was spot on when she spoke to Radio 4 about Novak Djokovic being thrown out of the Australian Open because of his lack of vaccination status.
“We wanted the No 1 player in the world. He could have been there by being vaccinated. I know he’s chosen not to and that is his right, but it is also his choice and with that choice come consequences and this is why he is where he is now.”
Novak Djokovic may have felt that he was entitled to play, but his choice not to be vaccinated led others to think otherwise. Boris Johnson may have felt that behind the closed doors of Number 10, there was little difference or distinction between meeting for work or for drinks, but when it became public knowledge against such a stark background of the pandemic and its restrictions, many were aghast that the Prime Minister and his colleagues should think that they were above the rules. Prince Andrew’s story is still unfolding, but with his military titles and patronages already stripped from him, along with the use of his HRH title, it is clear that the consequences of previous choices and company are profound.
It’s easy for us to point the finger and accuse others of hypocrisy, but in truth how many of us haven’t bent or ignored the rules from time to time to suit our own dreams, desires and convenience? We all have a natural tendency to put ourselves at the centre of the universe and expect the world to obey us. Sometimes our misdemeanours are frivolous and of no real consequence, but sometimes they become huge, affecting not only ourselves but also others. The Bible calls this waywardness ‘sin’, and perhaps the word sin should be spelt with a capital ‘I’, because so often the causes of sin are the pursuit of ‘me, ‘myself’ and ‘I’. In other words the putting of myself first, spoiling our lives and those of the people around us.
The Christian will be aware that God hates sin, but he loves us and through the loving and selfless actions of Jesus Christ and his death upon the cross, God takes the tremendous pain and consequences of our sin upon himself and offers us, in exchange, the forgiveness of sins, freedom to start again and the hope of a new life – a hope which is eternal.
Let’s be clear, in this life none of us are perfect or ever shall be, but in Christ we are given a new life and a new perspective, one which helps us to be a bit more loving, thoughtful and considerate not only about the people around us but the consequences of our choices and the way we behave.
“And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6.8