It’s How You Play the Game

You have heard the law that says, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you. In that way you will be acting as true children of your father in heaven. For he gives sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. –Matthew 5:43-45

As kids, we hear, “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.” Truth be told, deep down we all know that it is better to win. We love being good sports, especially with a first place medal around our neck.

In a division II collegiate softball game, Western Oregon vs. Central Washington, this old cliché was put to the test. In potentially the final game of her career, Oregon’s Sara Tucholsky hit a home run. As she rounded first base, she injured her knee, causing her to fall to the ground. Without touching bases, Sara’s run would not be counted. It was believed to be against the rules for anyone on her team to help her get round the bases.

That is when Mallory Holtman, on the opposing team, asked the referee if she and a fellow Central Washington teammate could pick Sara up and help her touch each base. The score was 0-0 and by the time they finished helping Sara around the bases Central Washington was down 3-0 in a game that would determine who continued on in the tournament and whose season was finished.

The world says hate your enemies and love only those who love you. Jesus teaches something radically different. He says to love those who hate you and pray for those who persecute you. Competition – whether at work, at home with your spouse or kids, in school, between parents – can be fierce and, in the heat of the moment, it can be hard to do the right thing when victory is on the line.

We show Jesus is Lord of our life when we live in such a way as to show it truly is not whether we win or lose but how we play the game that matters.

1. Do you feel Holtman did the right thing by helping her rival round the bases even though it potentially cost she and her team the game? How might you have reacted had you been on her team? On the other team?

2. Who do you need to show fair play and love to in your life?

Matthew 5:38-48; 1 John 2:7-11

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Kelly McFadden

Kelly McFadden is a wife and mother and is part of the HomeWord daily devotional writing team. Kelly graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2000 with a degree in journalism. Following a season of playing professional volleyball and training with the US National team, Kelly returned to school and received her Masters in Christian Education from Azusa Pacific University.

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