Thursday, August 29, 2013

Reflection: Why forgiveness is important...even in sport

The Essendon Football Club peptide saga has finally had some closure. This has been a messy affair not just for Essendon, but also the Australian Football League, the media, supporters and anyone affected.

Whenever life is messy often there are strong opinions, (some informed and some not so well informed). If some people had their way, Essendon, James Hird and everyone else involved in the saga would have been severely punished, tossed aside and abolished from the game, others are at the other end of the spectrum and for them nothing would have happened.

However the AFL in dealing with this matter has made some very clear statements: 

  • player welfare is absolutely important 
  • there must be integrity and fairness for all clubs 
  • illegal and sports enhancing drugs are not welcome 
  • breaking AFL rules will result in consequences 
  • we are a forgiving family

Andrew Demetriou, the CEO of the AFL (and others in the AFL) highlighted that forgiveness is an important part of the AFL, when they said there is always room for forgiveness in the AFL family. For many people forgiveness may seem strange and even a problem. However there is good reason for forgiveness to be an important value in any family or community. Basically it helps people deal healthily with their imperfections and mistakes, it encourages good relationships and makes for a stronger community.

Forgiveness is the number one priority for God and His church, it is God’s and our main message as Christians. We all need forgiveness from God (check out John 3:16-17 and Acts 13:38) but it is not just something we are asked to receive from God, we are called to be forgiving people (check out Colossians 3:13). At one stage in His ministry Jesus was asked by one of his closest companions how many times must I forgive my brother (I am sure you have asked this question about someone). Jesus’ response was, “not just once, not just seven times, but a whole lot” (you can read about this in Matthew 18:21-35). When we forgive we can live in better relationships on earth, we help others grow and we be part of a stronger community.

Like the AFL demonstrated this week, forgiveness does not come easy, it involves people saying sorry and it does not necessarily mean that someone gets away with something. There are earthly consequences when we need forgiveness, however good consequences will help us and help the community but forgiveness should always be our priority and it is God’s priority for you

Something to reflect on
Where have you lived inconsistently to what God says in His bible? Pray to God to forgive you because of what Jesus has done on the cross and by rising from the dead, ask Him also to help you live differently.
Where are there bad or poor relationships in your life? Pray about a plan to deal with these relationships, to talk to those concerned, to address the issues that have caused the poor relationship, admit how you have contributed to the problems and look for ways you can show forgiveness to others.

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