“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” — Ephesians 4:32
Sports an interesting place to look at when we see the words of Paul in Ephesians 4. He tell us to be kind, compassionate (one version of the Bible says tenderhearted) and forgiving. But sports is so often full of exactly the opposite — people remaining bitter, not forgiving and being downright ugly toward others.
As a sports fan, I saw this first hand in Philadelphia many years ago when I made the trek to the old Veterans Stadium as a fan of the Eagles’ biggest rival, the Dallas Cowboys. I lived in upstate New York at the time and thought it was amazing that I could drive four hours and see my favorite football team play a game. What I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t just watching my favorite football team play in person, I was experiencing a hate and anger from other humans I had not seen before.
At one point during the game, which Dallas would win, I stood up and fist-pumped after a Cowboys touchdown. That was a mistake. I quickly felt the drenching of a cold beer poured on the back of my blue windbreaker. Not being the type of person that liked conflict, I turned around and saw an angry, drunken, ticked-off fan who saw I was cheering for the team in silver and blue, and felt compelled to immediately unleash that wrath on this 20-year-old kid who was happy his team had scored.
Sports fans can get a little — how shall I say it? — over-the-top in the way they carry their allegiances to their team. When their team loses, or something bad happens, fights often break out and ugliness ensues.
The Apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians are a great reminder that as followers of Christ, we are to treat all people with kindness and compassion, and see them as children of God. Sometimes that’s very hard to do because of our natural inclination to hold on to grudges or prejudgement, but Paul’s claims are loud and clear.
This week, be kind to each other. Love one another. Show compassion and forgive as God in Christ forgives us.
— Jason Romano, Sports Spectrum Podcast host
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