When the cameras showed two young boys in tears at the football the commentator said that they should harden up. Meaning that they should follow the example of the footballers who were hard.
The greatest insult that a team can be given is to be called soft, like one coach's marshmallows.
To become hard may seem the most logical survival strategy to people who live their lives reactively. The world is harsh and cruel, brutal even, so it may seem that the only way to survive is to harden up.
This is the way of the world.
But God's way is different. We pray not to harden our hearts. A gentle, loving heart is what God desires for us.
These are the things of God.
The football league epitomizes the way of the world (the philosophy of their corporate owners). And we are encouraged to emulate their success (the cigar, the chocolates).
"He who dies with the most toys wins."
These are people who do not listen to God. If they have heard God's message they do not follow it.
"You have to live in the real world" they say.
But you can cry out to God!
He will hear you and deliver you.
"You deliver the weak from those too strong for them, the weak and the needy from those who despoil them." Psalm 35:10b (NRSV)
God is faithful and worthy of our trust.
We should love those who oppress us and pray for them.
For they are more afraid than us.
(Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.)