I’m a bigot.
There’s just no getting around it. Believe me, I’ve tried to. But I just can’t get away from the fact that I have a very strong tendency to look down on an entire group of people.
It’s not blacks. Not Catholics. Not even people who eat at Hardee’s.
My problem is with snowboarders.
I’ve got friends who snowboard. Isn’t that what all bigots say when they try to convince themselves that they are not in fact bigots? But I really do have friends who snowboard. That’s not enough to help me overcome my prejudiced ways. When I see a guy with a snowboard, I don’t know him, and the X Games aren’t in town, I automatically assume that he’s up to no good.
I went skiing last week. Nothing like a ski trip to remind you that you’re a bigot. Although you couldn’t see it on the outside, in my heart I was the grumpy old man of the ski slopes yelling at kids to get off of his lawn.
My two young sons were skiing for the first time. Day one was comparable to a cross between getting your wisdom teeth pulled while doing calculus and listening to Rascal Flatts. Yes, that bad.
But they eventually got the hang of it. By the second day they were speeding down the slopes and darting in and out of traffic. Traffic that included snowboarders. Every time they came close to one, I turned into that grumpy old man.
“Leave my kids alone, you young punks with your pink hair and your pierced lips and your kill your mother music!”
I never said that, of course. I just kept my bigotry to myself.
On our last day my youngest son was going down a hill. A big hill. He was going straight down the big hill. And doing a fine job, if I may say so. He looked like Curious George.
But then he wrecked. And it was a good wreck. I mean a bad one. And, you guessed it, there was a snowboarder close by. As I sped to check on my son, I was like David Banner. Only I wasn’t turning into the Hulk. Just the grumpy old man.
But a strange thing happened on my way to the scene of the accident. The snowboarder stopped. He bent down, asked my son if he was okay and started to help him up. The young snowboarder had nothing to do with my son’s wreck but he cared enough to check on him. That was probably the third time during our trip that something like that happened.
It made me feel like, well, a bigot.
Whenever a kid does something wrong, wrong enough to earn him a spot on the news, they always interview his mother.
“Ma’am, why do you think that your son blew up all of the toilets in the school and spray painted swastikas on his history teacher’s door?”
The mother’s answer is always pretty much like this.
“My baby would never do anything like that. He just fell in with the wrong crowd.”
The mother never stops to consider that maybe her son is the wrong crowd.
On the slopes last week, I learned that I was the wrong crowd. I’m the wrong crowd because I’m so much faster to go digging for the snowflake in another man’s eye than I am to take a glance at the snowboard in my own (Matthew 7:3-5).
I’m the problem because I forget that if I was the only person who ever lived, there would still be more than enough sin in the world to cost Jesus his life.
Jesus died for snowboarders. The nice ones that stop to help small children. And the mean ones that make small children wreck.
Thankfully, he also died for the sins of bigoted Southern Baptist pastors like me.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10 (ESV)