When I lived in Cincinnati, I learned how to snow ski. Well, kind of. I am definitely not a great snow skier, not the guy who is boldly slashing through double black diamond courses (the most difficult), but I enjoyed skiing with Kaye and with friends. I fell a lot of times but never was seriously hurt. If I felt I were losing control, I would tap out and fall. A friend taught me that. He told me to fall whenever I sensed I was losing control, not to fight it and ski more chaotically and more quickly but just to own it and fall. “Fall fast,” he said.
The first of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses is: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” The whole Christian experience is to be one of repentance. One of falling fast.
When you sense your heart wandering, fall fast. Though it takes humility and courage to fall, falling fast is much better for three reasons:
1. You will hurt less.
On the slopes, those who fall fast don’t hurt nearly as much as those who continue and build up more speed and ski recklessly out of control before falling. Repent quickly and you will hurt less.
2. You will hurt fewer people.
Out of control skiers don’t only hurt themselves, but they can also take out others with them. Those who fall fast limit the collateral damage. Our sin, as it builds, adversely impacts more and more people. The faster you fall, the fewer people you hurt.
3. You can get up more easily.
When skiers fall fast, it is much easier to get up, much easier to continue without being hauled off the course in a stretcher and unable to ski for months. In the same way, when leaders are continually unrepentant, a season comes when they are sidelined. It would be so much better to fall fast.
So repent quickly. Repent daily. Fall fast. When sin builds and multiplies in our hearts, the fall is much more painful and much more destructive.