Fruit of the Spirit Special: Love
READ: 1 Corinthians 13
Verse: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (vs 4-5)
To start off this fruit of the spirit series, I thought we’d take a look at the fruit of love. Love is one of those things that everyone talks about and throws around loosely, but it actually holds a lot of power and meaning. When we talk about love in sport, we are talking about the friendship kind of love – what the Greeks called Philia or Phileo. We are called to brotherly and sisterly love for one another, like the second greatest commandment says “love your neighbor as yourself”.
When you think of sports, you don’t immediately think of love. Yeah, there is team bonding and love of victory, but would you say that you love your team or the competing team, or the referee? Probably not.
Loving your teammates and coaches and other players can be a difficult task. I can remember playing basketball in high school and getting frustrated, not only with the referees and rival team, but also my own teammates and coaches. I would get heated and angry when we lost. This anger and hatred changed the way I viewed the game. Because we are born in sin, we are prone to hate and dislike. We don’t immediately have a love for those around us. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
My favourite Bible passage comes from 1 John 5 and it is the location of the very well-known phrase “we love because He first loved us.” That is the ONLY way we are able to live one another – through the love of Christ.
Loving in sports means caring for and being patient with your teammates. It means not holding a grudge against a team or player that was a bit too aggressive. It means rejoicing in another team’s victory. It’s like the passage from 1 Corinthians says – “It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
While sports games may not be the most obvious setting for showing brotherly/friendship love to one another, it is still an important part of sharing the love of Christ with others. We show that we are Christians by our works and by our attitudes.
Remember to show love next time you’re on the field or the ice and try to be patient, kind, and honorable. Be positive, even when you lose. Be calm, even when things get heated. And be gracious with your teammates, even if it’s hard. Reflect the love of Christ in all that you do, and you’ll see and feel a difference.