The Beautiful Game

By Not Known

Football is a beautiful game. Over the past five weeks, the entire planet was treated to one of the best exhibition of this beautiful game. It was a great spectacle for football fans. However, “ugly” gamesmanship had marred it.

Gamesmanship in its pureset form means the art of winning games using tactics to gain an advantage over an opponent. In the World Cup, it denotes a negative connotation of players resorting to simulation to gain an unfair advantage – i.e. contant diving in the penalty area; feigning injury in the attempt to get the opposition player sent off. Even the best of footballers resorted to such “ugly” gamesmanship.

In Gal 2, Paul accused Peter of being a hypocrite – a person that shows double standards in principles and beliefs. In other words, Paul accused him of “ugly” gamesmanship.

For instance, Peter used to have meals with Gentile believers but he began to draw back and separated himself from them when Jewish believers arrived. Wasn’t he the Apostle that God had revealed to in a dream that all gentiles will be brought into God’s kingdom through Jesus? Wasn’t he the first of the Apostles to have preached to the Gentiles?

I believe that Peter still held on to God’s revelation to him but sadly he acted contrarily to what he had believed and proclaimed. he pretended not to associate with the Gentile believers because he was afraid of the reaction of the Jewish Christians – so he distanced himself to keep his standing with the Jewish Christians.

In Peter’s journey of faith, he genuinely served God through teaching, preaching and healing. But his “ugly” gamesmanship in Gal 2: 11 could undo all the efforts that he had put in for the Gospel. This infuriated Paul. Paul understood what Peter did was hurtful and confussing to the Gentile believers and more importantly it discredited the ministry of the Good News of Jesus.

The lesson for us: beware of the dangers of “ugly” gamesmanship in our lives. A game of beautiful football between two teams over ninety minutes can be marred by just one incident of “ugly” gamesmanship that leaves the opposing team and the spectators infuriated. Imagine a journey of life which lasts a lifetime, how much more the repercussion of gamesmanship in our journey as we strive to be the salt and light to the world!

Paul had taught us to be mindful that we do not fall into the trappings of “ugly” gamesmanship: live life beautifully in integrity and truth. Encourage and (even) admonish one another in our journey of life as we pick up the wisdom of daily living form the Word of God.