Spring 2021 Magazine

Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional - Tuesday, September 19, 2017

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your heart and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)

The Golden Rule

We’ve probably heard it before: Treat others how you want to be treated. Knowing how we should treat others is great, but the hard part is putting that knowledge into action.

On June 24, 2017, during a Major League Soccer game between DC United and the Philadelphia Union, Union midfielder Haris Medunjanin provided a unique example of what integrity in the heat of competition looks like.

With his team up 1-0, Medunjanin was chasing the ball as it was going out of bounds when he was pushed in the back by DC’s Luciano Acosta. It didn’t look like much, but the referee ran over and issued a red card to Acosta, ejecting him from the game, much to the astonishment of everyone. Then, in an even more astonishing turn of events, the referee took back the red card, which was something even the commentators had never seen before.

It turns out that during the saga, the ref had talked to Medunjanin to get his thoughts on what happened. Medunjanin told the ref that Acosta hadn’t done anything dirty and in his honest opinion, didn’t deserve the red card, so the ref decided to rescind it.

“I’m always honest,” Medunjanin told mlssoccer.com after the game, which the Union went on to win. “I try to win and I don’t want to win with a dirty play or something like this. For me, it’s important that we won and we played a fair game.”

These two commandments that Jesus gave us go hand in hand. By showing love and respect to the people around us, we are also showing our love for God! Even when the easier option is to let something unfair go, we need to respond to the situation the way we would want someone else to if we were on the other side.

By putting ourselves in other people’s shoes, we can learn what it truly means to love our neighbors.

Joshua Doering, Sports Spectrum Reader

If you would like to submit a reader devotional, please email all submissions to jason@pao.org.