Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional – Monday, December 4, 2017

Michigan's Devin Gardner (98) getting ready against Ohio State in a 2014 game. (Photo Courtesy: Maize & Blue Nation/CC License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45a)

Loving Our Enemies

The Michigan-Ohio State rivalry is arguably the best in all of sports. Two storied programs with legendary coaches and players, battling it out every year for supremacy in the upper Midwest, usually with something on the line besides just bragging rights. “The Game” has had many unforgettable moments through its long history, but there’s one that’s always stuck out to me. During the game in 2014, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett went down with what turned out to be a season-ending injury. While Barrett was laying on the field before getting carted off, Michigan’s QB Devin Gardner come over to check on him.

Gardner’s compassion for his fierce rival in the heat of competition made a powerful statement. At that moment, Gardner expressed love and concern for Barrett through his actions and words.

It showed that as much as Gardner wanted to beat the Buckeyes, he also understood that there are things more important than winning a game.

While it can be easy at times to love people who love us back, God calls us to do something more; love our enemies. We’ve probably all heard these verses countless times, but I find that I still fail to put them into practice sometimes. Loving our enemies is quite possibly the single most challenging task that God gives us as His followers. We obviously need God’s help to truly and unconditionally love our enemies, but when we do, it is a tremendous way to show God’s love to others.

Joshua Doering

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