In tennis an unforced error is where you lose a point by making a mistake in a situation where you should be in full control. For example, making contact with the ball on the wrong part of the racket, or having bad timing (e.g., hitting the ball too early) is considered unforced errors.
In golf an unforced error is a poor shot executed by a golfer who has a good lie and is otherwise not pressured to take risks given the current competitive situation. For instance, you think you can go straight at the pen over water, rather of laying up, and paring the hole with a chip and a putt. Therefore, you rinse it, and at best bogey the hole.
In politics it is taking a position or making a comment you did not have to make. For instance, saying “We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know?”
In marriage an unforced error is telling your wife the meal she just spent hours cooking was not one of her better ones.
Generally after any of these occur you will hear “Are you stupid?” If not from an announcer from your wife! I know it sounds as if I speak from experience….
Unforced errors usually result from a lack of discipline or focus. They make winning difficult.
But did you know there are unforced errors in the Christian life? They make winning (See 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 2 Timothy 4:7-8) difficult.
Paul warns the church in Philippi of two often committed and unforced errors. First not “working out their salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). And the second is not doing “all things without grumbling or disputing” (Philippians 2:14).
Both of these unforced errors lead to loosing at the Judgement seat of Christ (Philippians 2:16; See 2 Corinthians 5:10).
Losing a tennis match, a golf tournament, or even a Presidential election due to an unforced error is stupid. But losing at the Judgement Seat of Christ is sinful.
My daily prayer for all attending Crosspoint is see us, “blameless and innocent” greatly rewarded in Heaven.
A MORSEL FROM MY SERMOM PREP
This phrase [“fear and trembling”], then, first of all reminds the Philippians of the grandeur of the final words in vv. 9–11. If the whole universe of created beings is someday (soon, from their perspective) to pay homage to their Lord, then they themselves need to be getting on with obedience (= working out their salvation) as those who know proper awe in the presence of God. One does not live out the gospel casually or lightly, but as one who knows what it means to stand in awe of the living God. On the other hand, nothing of failure or lack of confidence is implied. The gospel is God’s thing, and the God who has saved his people is an awesome God. Thus “working out the salvation” that God has given them should be done with a sense of “holy awe and wonder” before the God with whom they and we have to do.
-Dr Gordon Fee, NICNT: Paul’s Letter to the Philippians
See you Sunday!