Room For All

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29, NIV)

I waited all summer for an invitation to play in the Legends Tour BJ’s Charity Pro-Am in Plymouth, Massachusetts. I even strategically planned other travel around the event just in case. After relinquishing my hope, I received an email two days before the event. I hurriedly made last-minute travel arrangements and 24 hours later I landed at the Providence, Rhode Island, airport.

I faintly heard one of the ladies say, “My boyfriend bought my clubs on”Over the course of my career, the majority of amateurs that I have played with have been male. The hope is to have one golfer who has the ability to hit it long off the tee. This makes our (the pros’) job easier. When I arrived to my cart and introduced myself to my team of three ladies, disappointment sank like an anchor in my gut. Yes, I, a woman, had an immediate bias. The words “It’s going to be a long day” ping-ponged through my brain.

We started on a fairly long par-3 and I felt the weight of the high probability that we would be using my shot. As I prepared to hit my 6-iron up the hill to a pin tucked behind a bunker, I faintly heard one of the ladies say, “My boyfriend bought my clubs on” I asked if I had heard her correctly. Sure enough, her very pink set of clubs came from Amazon!

The levity of the moment suddenly made me aware that I was holding an unconscious bias toward these three women. I was faced with a choice. I could continue to hold disappointment that my group did not fit my expectation for the day. Or, I could relax and enjoy these ladies and even help them along the way.

I chose the latter.

The truth of the Gospel is that we all are desperately broken before God and still deeply loved by him. God’s love is indifferent to our backgrounds, ages, behaviors, or golf skills. Our response to his extravagant love should be to wake up every day overwhelmed in such a way that it leads us to return his love. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Furthermore, because of his love for us, we have access to what we need to interact with those around us, with love and kindness, despite our differences. Paul wrote, “In Christ Jesus you (we) are all children of God through faith.” There is no room for unconscious bias within the family of God. If you belong to Christ, then you are an heir to the promise—the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7).

I am grateful God gave me the opportunity to play with the three lady amateurs at the BJ’s Charity Pro-Am. Choosing to embrace something different than I had anticipated allowed me to experience a joy-filled day of golf, exposed my own cultural bias, and opened my heart to respond to God’s love in new and fresh ways.

Tracy Hanson
September 14, 2017
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