Josh Lindblom is a 32-year-old pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the second round of the 2008 MLB Draft, he made his MLB debut in 2011, then played for the Philadelphia, Texas, Oakland and Pittsburgh organizations, and also played five seasons in Korea, before signing with Milwaukee in December 2019.
If I am being honest, I am afraid. My fear, however, is not the same as my African American brothers and sisters. It pales in comparison to what they feel on a daily basis. My fear is selfish, and it reveals the injustice that is prevalent in our society. My fear is what people will think about me for writing this. I fear that people will think differently of me or that they will no longer respect me. My fear is not for my life or my well-being, but for how I feel when I lay my head down before going to sleep. Over the last week, my fear has been outweighed by the pain of regret if I were to do nothing. What has been happening in our country has kept me up late at night and woken me up early in the morning.
I cannot speak to everyone and I cannot appease all people. This fact is highlighted by the insufficiency of social media to properly express our views. There are, however, people I can speak to and influence directly — my children. Below is a letter I wrote to them as I tried to process the emotions I have felt over the last week. My hope is that those of you reading this will get a glimpse into my heart as I try to express what I am feeling. I know these words will fall short, but I will try to the best of my ability.
Anything we read has a context and this is the context for what I am writing: This is a letter to my children. If you would like to critique my parenting, go ahead; this is the best way I know how to raise my children at this moment in time. This letter is Biblical and theological. For the last seven years, I have been pursuing a master’s degree in theology. My worldview is thoroughly Judeo-Christian. I am committed to a life that reflects who I am in Christ, what I am becoming by the power of His Spirit, and what I will ultimately be at Jesus’ return. If you would like to critique my worldview, go ahead; I have tried to synthesize the information the world provides and make the most sense of the observable data. Some of you might disagree with me and that is OK. I hope you can still hear what I am attempting to say. This letter is practical. Ultimately, words mean nothing without action. Theology that is lacking application has no place in the lives of the disciples of Jesus Christ.
I have been blessed to have teammates and friends from all over the world and all different backgrounds. I have a responsibility to not only stand with them but fight for and with them when no one else will. With all of that being said, I hope there will be something for everyone that reads these words. My prayer is that those of you who take the time to read this will see the power of the Gospel and the hope that is found in my crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ.
To my children:
I write this to you with a pit in my stomach, a heavy heart and tears in my eyes. As I look out into our world and see what it is becoming, I wonder if I will leave it in a better place for you, or if it will be worse off because I did nothing. I realize the legacy I leave will not be something I give you, but something I will leave in you. I pray that I can inspire a life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. A life that seeks justice and equality for every person you encounter, wherever life takes you. I see your hope every day you wake up — a hope that today will be better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today. Do not let the world steal this hope because it will try to every chance it gets.
I will raise you, to the best of my ability, to see the inherent infinite value in every human being. You can barely turn past the first page of the Bible before God says that He has created all of humanity in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). He has endowed us collectively, not individually, with blessing. We were created to reflect His image in the world — together. We were created to rule and reign — together. Rule and reign within God’s Kingdom is not destructive but constructive. It is not tyrannical but compassionate. It builds up and does not tear down. Finally, it is good (Genesis 1:31).
Humanity was meant to rule — together. We were supposed to extend and expand God’s Kingdom on earth — together. This Kingdom, however (as you will see on page 3 of your Bible), has been fractured. The first thing the serpent does is attempt to drive a wedge between Adam and Eve. The serpent is smart, and he knows what he can accomplish if he can turn unity into disunity. His tactic is the same today. Once this happens, the rule and reign that was supposed to result in blessing becomes a curse (Genesis 3:15). Instead of expanding God’s Kingdom of self-giving love, we set up our kingdoms of self-seeking pleasure.
I must be honest — I have failed. I have followed suit with Adam and Eve. I have tried to build my own kingdom. I have sat in the comfort of my own throne room and ignored what was happening around me. I have failed to serve. I have failed to rule, reign and reflect God’s image of self-giving, others-focused love. I have failed to embody and incarnate the Gospel Message. I have failed to follow Jesus, deny myself, pick up my cross and walk the narrow road in my Savior’s footsteps. I have failed to recognize that people around me were my brother and sister long before they were my neighbor. I have stayed silent when I should have spoken. I have sat when I should have stood. In my efforts to be justified, I have forgotten what it means to be just. You do not have to take this path, and this is where your faith turns to action.
There is no easy way to do this. It takes effort and awareness. There is a way, and Jesus spells it out. It is not a self-help book with three or five steps to victory. It is a way of life that recognizes all you are is because of all that Jesus has done. You will never outgrow it, and you will always come back to it. This is the way you are to live as a pilgrim on this earth:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Recognize your spiritual bankruptcy and the pursuit of your kingdom and rule. Recognize your sin and shortcomings. Recognize your need for Jesus each day.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Mourn for the destruction and divisiveness that your sin has caused. Mourn for the pain and hurt that you have created in other people’s lives, whether you did it knowingly or unknowingly. Come alongside them and mourn with them.
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
Meekness is not weakness. It is strength that can withstand fire. People will try to tell you that poverty in spirit and mourning are signs of weakness, but they are the first signs of strength. Those who stand the tallest are those who know depths from which they have been rescued.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Look out into the darkness of the world and find a place to take your light. Look out into the world and see that things are not the way they are supposed to be. Hunger and thirst for things to be made right. Long and hope for the day when all of those who have experienced injustice will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
As a person who has experienced the mercy of God through Jesus Christ, go out into the world and be an agent of mercy and reconciliation. Extend God’s Kingdom of others-focused, self-giving love to places where mercy is not experienced. The merciful bear the pain of others when they can bear it no longer.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Strive to be pure and act in accordance with God’s will for your life, which is your conformity with the image of His Son, Jesus. Be laser-focused on your purpose and calling as an image bearer and ambassador of Jesus.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
The irony of being a peacemaker is that achievement of peace is rarely peaceful. Peacemakers go into places where there is no peace and stand in the gap. They seek to reconcile what may be irreconcilable.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in Heaven is great; for in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
This way of life will not be easy. You will be misunderstood. People will mock you and ridicule you. They will speak evil and tell lies about you. The reason they do this is because of the One you follow. They do it because you have committed yourself to the narrow road. Rejoice when you find yourself in this situation because you are on the right path. You are standing in a long line of people who have followed Jesus faithfully. Look to them for encouragement. Most of all, fix your eyes on Jesus and look to Him for guidance. He knows precisely what you are going through.
You are 6, 5 and 3 years old. I know we will have more talks. I know we have time to figure things out, but I do not want to waste the time we have together. Go out into the world and be salt and light. Fight for those who cannot fight. Speak for those who cannot speak. Cross the road when no one else will. Mourn with those who mourn. Go two miles. Extend your hand to the different, downtrodden and despised. Lay down your life if that is what is needed.
Most importantly, live your life by Jesus’ two rules: Love your God who has rescued and redeemed you. Love your neighbor as yourself.
I love you,