Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Friday, June 21 - Grateful For The Nay-Sayers

“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 5:43-45

>> Sign up here for Sports Spectrum devotionals sent right to your email inbox <<

The 2023 summer hardcourt tennis swing was the summer of Coco Gauff. The young, teenage sensation who had been coming on strong and rising in the ranks for a good two or three years, after a disappointing exit at Wimbledon, put together a month to remember: her first WTA 500 title at the Washington DC tournament, her first WTA 1,000 title in Cincinnati at the Western & Southern Open, and a hard-fought and decisive win against the soon-to-be world No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in the women’s final of the U.S. Open.

But perhaps what was more memorable than her results was how she handled the moment afterward. Soon after match point had been played at the U.S. Open, cameras captured her praying over at her bench, and she also made no hesitation about bringing God into her ceremonial speech. Yet she also had some comments for those who had doubted her:

“Honestly, thank you to the people who didn’t believe in me,” she said, “… Those of you who thought you were putting water on my fire were really adding gas to it, and I’m really burning so bright.”

Coco’s remarks got me thinking: When we think of haters and nay-sayers, we make comments about how it makes us play “with a chip on the shoulder,” or how we want to “prove them wrong,” but she went even further and directly thanked those people. She didn’t have to let their comments make her angry or push her in a negative way. She instead chose to be grateful for how it grew her and fueled her. She didn’t need their support in order to keep chasing her dreams. She just kept on believing in her goals, trusting God for His strength, and relying on the help of those closest to her.

What if we found a way to be grateful for those who didn’t catch our vision?

There will be some people who either 1) simply choose not to like, support or understand you, or 2) are so insecure that their only way of trying to feel better about themselves is to go around judging, criticizing, condemning, bashing and shaming others — pulling others down in order to pull themselves up. It’s a sad but true reality. But the thing is, they don’t have to have the last word. We don’t have to let our lives be defined by their opinions. We can choose to showcase our own greatness! I don’t mean this in an arrogant way, but we can choose to believe in our God-gifted abilities, to believe in God’s plan, and to rely on the support of those we trust the most.

The small people of the world who want to make our lives miserable will always be there. We know who they are and what they’re saying. We’re not immune to their jabs, but we don’t have to accept them as being true. We can simply reflect our Savior when He asked His Father to forgive them because they didn’t know what they were doing (Luke 23:34). We can burn brightly for God in the face of their persecution because we know who we are and we believe in where we’re going.

— Katherine Singer

>> Do you know Christ personally? Learn how you can commit your life to Him <<

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more devotionals and stories where sports and faith connect <<

>> Purchase “The Increase 52 Week Devotional” to further grow your relationship with Christ <<

>> Dive more into God’s Word with Sports Spectrum through the YouVersion Bible App <<

If you would like to submit a devotional, please email all submissions to