FIFA 2010 World Cup

by Barry Newton
worldcupreferee2.jpgWhether or not you favor this year’s outcome in the World Cup, technology has eroded the trophy’s legitimacy. Soccer should only be about a team’s ability. The human foibles of an official should not alter games.
The limits of human perception and attention have been revealed in larger-than-life slow motion replay. Even Sports Illustrated acknowledged that the reputation of soccer’s judgment calls took a beating this year.
While most of the attention has perhaps been focused foremost upon illegitimate goals being awarded, rightful goals being excluded and errors in either calling or failing to call penalty shots, bad judgment calls affect more than the score.
The emotional weight players feel and the strategy their team pursues is influenced by the score, whether it is deserved or not. What would have happened if teams could have played differently, because correct calls had been made?
Witnessing injustice upsets us deeply, especially if it is our team. On the other hand, perhaps if we’re honest we could find ourselves admitting some secret rejoicing when an official overlooks an offense our team committed.
Human judgment is flawed. However, there is a judgment coming where no errors will be made. From visible behavior and audible words to the hidden motives of a person’s heart, every detail whether good or bad will be exposed.
While we might have hope that a referee will make an error in favor of our soccer team, no such mistakes will be made when Jesus returns to judge the living and the dead. Unfortunately, we all know we are guilty.
Our only hope resides in embracing and relying upon the saving grace made available through Jesus’ death. How wonderful it is to know that a truthful judgment about ourselves can be, “you are holy, blameless and righteous because you belong to Christ.” The price to be legitimately purified did not come cheaply.
“Welcome!” Now that will be an untarnished victory.

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Barry Newton

Married to his wonderful wife Sofia and a former missionary in Brazil, Barry enjoys trying to express old truths in fresh ways. They are the parents of two young men.

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