“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)
The Beauty of Forgiveness
It was June 2, 2010, at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga needed one final out to complete only the 21st perfect game in MLB history. Jason Donald’s ground ball is fielded by first baseman Miguel Cabrera. He throws the ball back to Galarraga, who touches the first base bag before Donald can get there. All eyes turn to first base umpire Jim Joyce, waiting for the final out to become official. Instead, Joyce calls Donald safe.
Even more impressive than Galarraga’s performance on the mound that night was what happened afterward. Once he saw a replay, Joyce immediately realized he had made the incorrect call and said so publicly. He gave an emotional, heartfelt apology to Galarraga. The next day, Galarraga came out to deliver the Tigers’ lineup card to the home plate umpire: Jim Joyce. Throughout the entire ordeal, Galarraga chose grace and forgiveness over anger and hate.
At least for me, forgiveness, true, genuine forgiveness, is one of the hardest things we are called to practice as followers of Christ. Forgiving people who have wronged us is not easy but it is one of the very best ways to show God’s love to others, and we aren’t perfect either. After all, Jesus came as a sacrifice for our sins.
What happened between Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce is a great example of what authentic forgiveness looks like. Joyce owned his mistake and asked Galarraga for forgiveness, which Galarraga gave unconditionally. If forgiveness can be shown in that situation, we can do it too!
– Joshua Doering