Spring 2021 Magazine

Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Friday, October 23

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” — Colossians 3:12-13

Relational Friction

A team for which I had served as chaplain for several years signed a new head coach. He came from a team where the Christian players were in constant conflict in the locker room over everything from music to Biblical doctrine to the team ministry.

In our first meeting, he pounded his fist on the desk loudly declaring, “This is a workplace…!” As I agreed with his concern, we settled into a good conversation about his past locker room. The differences between Christians had become a flashpoint for verbal battle. It damaged their testimonies, influence, team unity and most of all their relationships.

You may not find yourself in the depth of contention that festered in that coach’s former locker room, but unless you hibernate alone in the Alaskan tundra, you will experience relational friction. It is a lifelong battle.

Colossians 3 calls for kindness, compassion and patience in our relationships. It stems from two critical actions — bearing with one another and forgiving one another. Bearing literally means “putting up with” others. Forgiving is not holding an offense against another person. The alternative is to keep score, nurse the hurt and plan for payback.

When there is significant injury done in a relationship, we need to address it with the other person. It requires humility to both give and receive input. Forgiveness will undercut our tendency to move into bitterness and resentment.

Relational friction is an inevitable lifelong battle. Fighting that battle requires us to humbly step into relationships, creating light, not heat.

— Tom Petersburg, catapultministries.org

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