First Baptist Church of Beltsville

Finding Peace with God on the Hilltop of Beltsville

With Fans Like These

<p>I love to watch my children play sports! It brings back fond memories of being a part of a team, playing hard, doing my best for a win, and celebrating (or commiserating) with my teammates. I try my best to stay positive and give huge bear hugs to my children after they compete, regardless of the game&#39;s outcome or their individual performance. Simply put, I am proud of the fact that they are trying hard to compete in athletics. However, I know that many parents do not share my philosophy of junior sports.</p>

<p>At the end of my daughter&#39;s volleyball season, I witnessed a parent becoming so infuriated with their child&#39;s performance that they were yelling across the court with obvious anger and disappointment. The negative woman finally made a hand-chopping motion across her neck and yelled for the coach to bench her daughter. What kind of parent would be their child&#39;s worst sports critic?!? With fans like that, who needs an enemy? I was saddened and embarrassed for the whole family, and I longed to wrap that poor girl up in a hug to protect her from the certain tirade that would unfold on the ride home following their team&#39;s loss.</p>

<p>For those of us who are in Christ, we are told to zip-it unless we can say something positive. Ok, so Scripture does no quite put it exactly like that. Here is what Paul says in Ephesians 4. [29] Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. [30] And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. [31] Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (Ephesians 4:29-31)</p>

<p>You may not attend any sporting events this year, but I am sure that you know someone who will either be built up, or torn down, by your manner of speech. Young people are especially vulnerable to overly-critical language, and eventually their spirits can be broken to the point of quitting altogether. What hope does a person have if you criticize their very best? Even in correction we can aim for a positive outcome if we season our words with grace and encouragement. If you do get the opportunity to attend a child&#39;s sporting event this year, applaud until your hands bleed, shout words of encouragement to all of the players, and wrap the child up in a bear hug that is sure to embarrass them while they smile beneath the shelter of your embrace.</p>