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Serena Williams at 37 years of age was coming back from having a baby, and hoping to win a 24th Grand Slam tennis title which would have equaled an all-time record. Unfortunately for her, she met a better player in Naomi Osaka, a 20-year old Japanese, who beat her in straight sets during the recent US Open Ladies Final to win her very first major title. 

In and of itself, it should have been “just one of those things” after all experienced players lose to newcomers all the time, but it was the way Williams lost which was disappointing, even shameful. In the crucial second set, she had “a fiery confrontation” with the male umpire calling him a “thief” and a “liar” and even twisted it into a sexist issue. At the end of the tournament, the organizers rightly fined her US$17,000 for the violations which included smashing her racket and telling the umpire he would never referee another match in which she played. 

This episode had nothing to do with a biased umpire, who gave Williams what she deserved according to the rules, nor sexism. The bottom line was that Williams lost to a better player in a crucial match, and she lost control of herself because she knew she was getting hammered. As a veteran professional she should have known better and shown better. By contrast Osaka was humble and gracious in her victory, apologizing to the partisan New York crowd who had been rooting for Williams, even bowing to her during the prize-giving because Williams was her tennis idol. Perhaps that changed after that meltdown!

Like Williams, we can be just as foolish. When things go wrong, we shift blame. We erupt, blaming and flaming (taking out our anger) everyone instead of taking responsibility for our failures. As far back in history as the Garden of Eden, Eve shifted blame to the serpent, Adam even blamed God for giving him Eve, and then blamed Eve for giving him the fruit (Genesis ch 3). Adam failed to take responsibility for his part in the debacle, and both ran away to hide. Instead we should humbly admit our faults, take responsibility for our failures and ask God for strength and self-control to do better next time. Blaming and flaming only adds to our shame.

Pastor Graham


BCC Vision

“Like a tree planted by
streams of water,
which yields its fruit in 

(Psalm 1:3)

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Singapore 737853

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