I don't like Glenn Hoddle.
Every time I see him on TV,
which in our house is quite often,
I say something derogatory.
'Why is he even on there?
He was sacked as England manager.'
Is my usual response to his punditry.
Punditry is a technical term meaning a person,
usually a man, who can talk incessantly about football.
That's most men, as far as I can tell.
On Saturday I was thinking about injustice.
I'd taken a photo of the tills in Tesco, ready for my Lent photo challenge.
But when I got home I took this photo.
Warning: Photo also contains Michael Owen.
I quite like him.
Though he has an annoying voice.
Not as annoying as Jamie Carragher.
What happened to commentators having nice voices?
Here's the photo:
Now I have my reasons for not liking Glenn Hoddle.
He was sacked as England manager in 1999 for making a silly remark about disabled people.
At the time we were leaders of a church that had a disabled lady as one of the members.
I was angry for her too.
But last Saturday,
as I contemplated injustice in another field,
I realised I was still judging him for something he said 16 years ago.
And he'd been in a highly pressured job.
What if he had made a mistake?
What if his words had come out wrong?
What if it was time to cut him a bit of slack?
Don't get me wrong,
I'm not excusing what he said.
His words deeply hurt a lot of people.
But I'm not sure I'd like every word I've uttered over the past 16 years
recorded and replayed for all to hear.
We all make mistakes.
I make loads.
All the time.
And forgiveness is free.
I know because I've received it more than I deserve.
I can be quick to judge.
And I have the memory of an elephant.
But I think maybe it's time for me to stop judging people,
not just Glen Hoddle if I'm honest,
For words said in haste.
For actions that should be long-forgotten by now.
And maybe it's time to choose freedom for myself;
by accepting apologies I never received,
from people who have never offered them.
Maybe it's time to extend to others the kind of forgiveness I have received.
To love as I have been loved.
To view people through the eyes of Christ.