You Just Never Know

The Bible is pretty clear about relationships. Don’t burn bridges. Be faithful. Make immediate amends for intentional and unintentional offenses (see Proverbs 6:1-5; Matthew 5:23-25; and Philemon).
You just never know what the future holds.
Less than 9 hours from the time I type this, Auburn University will play Virginia in a Final Four game in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You read that right. Auburn. Auburn University. The Auburn Tigers. War Eagle. That Auburn. The Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan, Lawyer Tillman, Cam Newton, and Lionel James Auburn. They are playing basketball in April.
I feel like I owe Auburn an apology.
Less than a week ago today, a friend from high school connected with my family. A “friend” that I didn’t pay much attention to. A “friend” I probably all but ignored in my teen years. A “friend” I probably wasn’t as kind toward as I should have been. A friend I don’t deserve to be reconnected with.
I feel like I owe them an apology.
When I was a young boy, my dad led me (rightly) to believe that Auburn basketball would always disappoint. Always.
Sure. We’ve had our moments. Charles Barkley. Chuck Person (well, never mind). Chris Porter. Sonny Smith. Tony B. . . Just kidding. We’ve had our moments. Okay, so we’ve had our moment. Charles Barkley. But we’ve never had a good team. Never a good, solid run.
Because I loved basketball so much, I started following Duke. Yes. the divinity school. The divinity school that I literally followed religiously. To this day, I am not sure why. But I grabbed a hold of them as a young boy and held on tight. Coach K. Bobby Hurley. Grant Hill. Danny Ferry. Coach K. Wojo. Elton Brand. Christian Laettner. Coach K. Kyrie Irving. Cherokee P. . . Just kidding. And, oh yeah, Coach K.
There was never really any tension for me. Sure, I bleed orange and blue. Always have and I always will. But I never felt weird about following Duke basketball so closely and passionately. Auburn’s season was usually over early March and no one really seemed to care. Following Duke didn’t seem like I was cheating on Auburn. It just felt like I was doing myself a favor for not allowing my heart to be stomped on again and again and again. Pulling for Auburn basketball, in other words, would be setting myself up for failure. I was simply “guarding my heart.”  I never wrote Auburn off, I just. . . Okay, yes I did.
Wearing my Auburn clothes in April is shocking. Sure, I represent my team outside of football season. But only in passing. This morning, however, I woke up and felt like I was wearing clothes in preparation for the Iron Bowl. My own shirts asked me what I was doing. They usually aren’t ready until August.
I feel like I need to repent or something. Auburn, I am sorry. Being the preacher I am, I shouldn’t say it, but I have sure thought it – “The only way Auburn will ever get to the Final Four is if ‘you know where’ freezes over.”
I was wrong.
Auburn is playing in the Final Four tonight. I am sorry I doubted. I am sorry my allegiances went to Duke during basketball season. Though I probably would have lived out the last 30-35 years the same, for some reason I feel like I just need to say how sorry I am for not hoping for a change in the future.
And to my high school “friend” that has reconnected, I am sorry. I hope you didn’t think I ignored you or thought myself better than you. I probably did, though. And that proves just how small and immature I really was. I hope I didn’t burn any bridges. Truth is, I never thought about the future. I was just thinking of myself and the “here and now.” I am sorry.
There’s a lesson here. Actually, there are several.
Loyalty matters.
Faithfulness matters.
Being kind matters.
Hope matters.
Never burning bridges matters.
Remembering that you never know what the future holds matters.
It may not seem like it now, but Auburn may play in the Final Four one day. Yeah. That Auburn.
The Bible is pretty clear about relationships. God knows what He’s talking about. Don’t burn bridges. Be faithful. Make immediate amends for intentional and unintentional offenses.
You just never know what the future holds.