Several years ago people feared the worst as the Florida Panthers goalie, Tomas Vokoun, lay on the ice, bleeding from his head. It all started when the Panthers gave up a breakaway to the Atlanta Thrashers. A breakaway that the Atlanta player at first missed, but then got his own rebound and put it in the net. In frustration, Keith Ballard, the Florida defender closest to the Thrasher player, went to swing and break his stick on the goal post. He didn’t hit the post. By accident, he struck his own goalie in the head with his stick and sliced him open. Thankfully, Vokoun’s injuries turned out not to be life-threatening, but did require several stitches (Watch Video Below)
Accident or not, Ballard’s lack of self-control resulted in a terrifying, and a potentially life threatening situation if his stick had struck Vokoun differently. When people lose self-control, it blows my mind the type of horrible decisions they can make. But this isn’t just a “they” kind of conversation, is it? I myself have personally made bad choices in moments where I lacked self-control. You have probably done the same. To be blunt, when we sin, it’s because of a lack of self-control. Nearly all sin comes as a result of us not controlling ourselves.
Like in Ballard’s case, how would we feel if our lack of self-control led to the hurting of someone else or the falling away of a member? Let’s not be so ignorant to think that our sins don’t impact others. Self-control is a very important Christian trait (1 Corinthians 9:25; Galatians 5:23; 2 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:8; 2 Peter 1:6; etc). As Jesus pointed out, it’s a foundational trait, “…If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Mark 8:34).
It’s impossible to be right with God without self-control. We can practice self-control with smaller things (sports, reactions, eating, exercise, words, etc), so that it will help with the major things like our eternal futures. From the big to the little, let’s make sure self-control is a major focus in our lives.