Fruits of the Spirit Special: Kindness
READ: 1 Thessalonians 5
VERSE: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
We’ve been playing soccer for just over two weeks now. It’s been so great to get back outside and get together with some of the community on Mondays and Wednesdays in Ancaster. I decided to coach a team this year and it has been such a blessing to spend time with the kids and meet so many new people.
Due to COVID, we’ve had to adjust some of our playing habits and traditions. One of the ones we’ve had to scrap is shaking hands after the game. While the health and wellbeing of the community is extremely important, I’ve been reflecting on the importance of this tradition over the past few weeks. Our team makes a point of saying “Good game!” to the other team when we walk past them as we leave, but it doesn’t feel the same.
I think that 1 Thessalonians 5:11 is the foundational verse of this game tradition. No matter how “intense” or competitive the game can get, we are still called to encourage one another and build one another up. At the end of the day, it’s not about winning or losing, but playing a game together and having fun. Saying “Good game” to the other team puts aside the outcome of the game and focuses on the time spent together. For the winning team, it makes you recognize the skill and fight that the other team put into the game. For the losing team, it allows for encouragement and congratulations on victory.
I know from my time playing basketball in high school that those two words can be extremely difficult to say when you lose, especially after a tough game. There were days when I didn’t want to say them, or I would say them with animosity and frustration. Back in my younger days, I would purposely skip saying it to players that I was not happy with. I shake my head at myself now, but that’s how competitive I got.
Over time, I’ve grown and realized just how vital that encouragement is at the end of the game. It forces you to put aside differences, shake hands, and be kind towards the other team – no matter how frustrated you might be.
Kindness is an integral component of sportsmanship. It’s what makes sports fun and what makes you want to come back and play again. So, live out 1 Thessalonians 5:11. Even if you can’t physically shake your opponent’s hand, make sure you encourage them with a “Good game” before you leave.