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Bad Call



A referee’s “bad call” in Monday night’s matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers has sparked collective outrage among football fans everywhere. Even those who don’t follow sports have been subjected to endless replays of the controversial end zone grab-fest that some have called an interception and others have called pass interference, and which almost everyone but the refs agree was NOT a touchdown.


Even the political candidates weighed in. “Terrible,” exclaimed President Obama. “Bring back the ‘experienced referees’” chimed in Mitt Romney, referring to the National Football League’s lockout of its regular refs due to a contract dispute, and the recent use of less-qualified officials. As one commentator noted, the referees call “was almost like hearing that the Supreme Court had ruled the sky was pink. Or that NASA had announced that the moon was made of cheese. Or that the United Nations had decided to let Cuba join its Human Right’s Council. (Actually, it did.)”


Despite what we keep hearing, truth is not a relative concept for sports fans, just as it isn’t for most everyone else. What we’ve witnessed this week is nothing less than an outcry for moral integrity; for righteous judgment according to an objective standard. Of course, the outcry comes from people who want the standard applied to others, where they have little at stake personally, save fan loyalty and a love for the game.

My hunch is that even those for whom the ref scandal is a “black and white” issue (pun intended) will tolerate a lot more “gray” in their personal lives. While God has revealed himself to human beings and given us the ability to distinguish right from wrong (Romans 1:16-32), there is something in us that rebels against being under His authority and obeying His decrees. That something is Sin; the capacity we all have to justify our own “bad calls” in life as they relate to attitudes and behaviors, habits, relationships, work, and more.

So perhaps we need to take the spec out of our own eye, before  attempting to give the guys in stripes a new pair of glasses. In this digital age of instant replays and You Tube and endless sound bytes, its easy to criticize those whom we have elevated over us to make judgments. The world would be better served, however, if we applied our desire for truth and righteousness a little closer to home.


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