The largest headlines of this past week have all concerned fair play.

Play in the literal sense is involved in the International Olympic Committee’s announcement that Russia would not be allowed to field a team at the upcoming Winter Olympics. This was in response to the revelation of wide-spread doping of Russian athletes. The decision carefully penalized the country – no flag, no anthem – while allowing individual athletes – who could demonstrate a personal drug-free status – to compete as “Olympic athletes from Russia.”

The recognition of the city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was greeted with a firestorm of
controversy. “What about Palestine?” came the cry. In reality, Jerusalem has been a shared city for a long time, holy to Christians, Jews and Muslims. To say it is the capital of the Palestinian state but not of Israel is an attempt to appease the dominant population in that region of the world. Far better to have little Israel’s larger friend (the U.S.A.) insist on fair treatment. In the schoolyard, this could be compared to not letting anyone monopolize the sandbox. Monitors will stand by to make sure students who have fought in the past learn to play well with others.

Finally, the avalanche of accusations against men in power who have sexually harassed women has been recognized by Time Magazine, which names the whistle-blowers their “Persons of the Year.” On the one hand, why are we surprised that this was happening in the entertainment industry which has for too long insisted that sex did not need policing? But the greater point is that many women in many fields have not been allowed to be evaluated on their merits, but instead mistreated as objects to be conquered and subdued by men in power.

The Prophet Amos said, “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (5:24)

While these exercises in fair play are important, they should also challenge us, who would walk in the steps of Jesus:

  • By reminding us that we show our love for the Lord in obeying his commands, including his call for our personal holiness; and
  • Assuring us that though we stumble, that our Redeemer lives, who in the end will stand upon the earth, vouching for His own that we are ransomed from the punishment we deserve by the grace of the Old Rugged Cross.

Grace & Peace,
Peter