Go to a baseball game – any baseball game – and some time during the course of the play you will likely here someone say “Good eye.” It doesn’t matter if you are at a professional baseball park, or at a little league outing, the same refrain is used. It denotes the ability to discern which pitches are going to wind up in the strike zone and which aren’t. If you resist a pitch that looks good, but that the umpire ends up calling as a “ball,” someone – either a coach or a fan – is likely to commend you for having a good eye.
This ability to discern between a ball and strike is important because it means the player has an acute recognition of what things are and what they aren’t. They aren’t persuaded by close approximations. They are waiting for the pitch that they can hit – a pitch within their strike zone.
In the Christian life we are called to have a similar level of discernment. We must be able to distinguish between the things of God and the things that aren’t. We must be willing to call things what they are. Just like a baseball player must resist the pitch that may look good, but in fact isn’t, we must be able to resist the things that others say are good, but we know aren’t godly. We have to be mindful of close approximations – accepting only the things that God’s Word indicates are in accordance with what pleases Him.
Francis Schaeffer put it this way:
Sin is sin, and we must not call it less than sin. It is not an act of love to explain sin away as a psychological determinism or sociological conditioning, for it is real and must be dealt with. Men need a Savior. Therefore, Christians in our generation must resist relativistic and deterministic thinking. If men are going to find a real solution to the problem of who they are, they must come to terms with the fact that they need a Savior because they are sinners in the presence of a holy God. Sin is serious business.
If something conflicts with God’s standards, we must call it what it is – we must say it is sin. As Shaeffer indicates, if we do not, not only are we not in agreement with our Savior, but also the message of the Gospel is compromised.
It can be difficult for a baseball player to discern between a good pitch and a poor one. However, the more familiar they are with the strike zone, the more they are able to determine if the pitch meets the criteria for being in it. Similarly, the more we saturate ourselves with the things of God, the more likely we are able to distinguish anything that departs from Him. And then to call it as He sees it. To call it sin.