Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sin Confessed, Word Applied, Action taken

This is a Doghouse board.

You may know this game as "Aggravation" and it is named that for a good reason, but growing up, we always called it "Doghouse."

It's a simple marble/die game.  Four players - you are the color to your left.  You roll a one or six to come out - bottom left corner hole in front of you, where you see the painted hole.  Then you roll and make your way around the board until you come almost back to your starting place, turning and entering your "house." The goal is to get all your marbles home before your opponent.

There are some rules that need to be stated:

  • If you roll a six, you get to roll again
  • If you roll three sixes, you have to take your marble closest to getting in your home and put it back in the doghouse (starting position)
  • If you roll a number and your marble lands on a hole where an opponent is sitting, you "knock them off" and they go back to their "doghouse" - thus the application of the name "Aggravation"
  • If you land on an inside corner (there are four), on your next turn, you can hop the corners and race home - it's a short cut. Or you can hop a corner and try to knock of someone who is close to their home
  • Once in your home, you are completely safe
  • You cannot jump over your own color, but you can jump over anyone else's color
It's really not that complicated.  You want to get home and you want to knock others off.

Now, when Dave and I play, we play two colors - the goal is to get both colors home before your opponent.  We play fast and we play vicious.  If we have the choice of knocking someone off or going into our home, we almost always choose knocking the opponent off, just to aggravate them...sorry, but it's true.

It's a pretty even game - we usually play best out of three games to see who the champ for the night is.  And truth be known, I would think after a few decades of playing, I probably win 50% of the time. That's why we keep playing.

But every once in a while, one of us gets on a streak and every roll gets a corner or knocks the other off. It is extremely aggravating and when I am not the one on the streak, I can really get frustrated...and sometimes mad.

So, the other day, Dave and I were playing and he was on a streak.  He started by getting marbles out and going about 10 rolls before I could even get out of my home. Then he proceeded to camp his marbles out by my home and knock me off whenever I got out. In the meantime, his other marbles raced home and before I knew it, I was losing miserably, he was decimating my poor, weak marbles and my temper was boiling.  I tried to have a good attitude, but in my head, I was ticked...

Sin nature at its best.

And I knew where I was headed.  Here's the confession - I have, in the past, punched Dave in the arm when he knocks me off for the hundredth time - not playfully but angrily.  I have taken his die and thrown it across the room.  I have pounded the board with my fist and made the marbles fly - immediately ending the game.  Not proud of any of this, but I have told you all before, I am highly competitive and it's not pretty.

I could feel this was where I was headed.

Suddenly in my mind, all I could hear was the cry of the tax collector who beat he breast and cried out to the Lord, "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!" I knew in my heart where this was headed and all I could do was cry out to the Lord to stop me before I did something stupid.

I know. It's ridiculous.  It was just a stupid game.  But the flesh was winning and I was sinning.  

I hung in there a few more turns, trying to dig myself out of a hole, but Dave's streak continued and my blood was near the boiling point.  Then I heard in my head, "you can lose it or walk away before you do."  And that's what I chose to do.  I picked up my marbles, placed them back in their home, looked at Dave and said, "I concede. You win tonight." And walked away.

Now, Dave was confused and wanted to finish - he laughed because he thought I was teasing but it was my only way of escape before I lashed out.  My hope is someday I'll be able to laugh it off and just let him destroy me with a good attitude. When I am on a roll, he never walks away - he is a great example to me, but I still have some maturing to do when it comes to games.

So, I faced my sin, the Holy Spirit brought the Word to bear in my mind, and I acted. I'm not overly proud that I quit, but it's a step in the right direction and way better than a temper tantrum.

That's the Christian walk in a nutshell.  I don't have to do this on my own - I can choose to control my temper.  And my goal is to become the best loser that ever walked the earth.  I have a feeling that God will continue to let me lose until I learn this lesson.

So, back to the board and Dave, if you're reading this...sorry about quitting, don't let up on me - God's even using Doghouse to mold and shape me into His image.


  1. Hello Kristen,
    How painful truth really is, and more so when in our selfishness God causes us to see it ourself.The joy is in the recognition that its GOD bringing to mind these pride moments and making us more like JESUS.....oh how far we are from that! thank-you for sharing and being transparent in a reality that I would believe plagues most if not all of us.

    Humbly His,

  2. Thanks, Clarence - I don't even like to play games at baby showers - I'm too competitive and I hate losing! Ugh.

  3. I never would have guessed you were that competitive, but we all have our faults. Nice to know your just like the rest of us and God needs to work on each one. Glad you had the recall of the Word to guide you. Thanks for being so open.

  4. You could change it up a bit and go home instead of knocking Dave out...