Seventh grade football: I played tailback and linebacker.

On defense, the number one rule my coach stressed was, “Don’t close your eyes when you tackle.” Good advice.

A week or two before the season started, we had a scrimmage. All the parents came out to watch. Even the local paper was there.

During the game, as I was making a tackle, the newspaper photographer snapped my picture.

The next day, my picture was in the sports page….

You probably see where this is going.

According to the internet (which must be true) the average human blinks 10-15 times per minute. So what are the chances that the photographer snapped my picture during a blink?

Apparently the photographer’s timing was impeccable.

I remember my mom cutting out the picture and showing it to me. She was so excited. But as soon as I took one glace at it, I had a sick feeling in my stomach.

My sick feeling was confirmed when later at practice, my coach pulled out the picture. Like my mom, he had also cut it out of the paper. Only, he wasn’t so excited about it.

He held it up during warm-ups and asked me to come stand in front of the whole team. He asked, “what’s wrong with this picture, Attebery?” I knew exactly what he was getting at, so I answered, “My eyes are closed.” There was no use going with the blinking explanation at this point.

“And do we close our eyes when we tackle?” asked the coach. “No sir,” I said.

Then, the worst thing ever happened. Coach made everyone run laps. Everyone, that is, but me. I just stood there and watched. Ouch.

It reminds me how everything we do in life affects others -no matter how big or small the action or attitude.

This can be negative (like my tackling) when we sin. But it can also be positive when we live in obedience to Christ and serve others.

So take Galatians 5:13 to heart today. “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

You never know how your life can impact others –in just the blink of an eye!