1 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
Romans 13:1 (ESV)
If you have played sports for very long, chances are you have had a run-in with your coach or a referee. We have all been there. But a defining moment for you as an athlete pursuing God occurs in your interactions with the authorities present around you.
To be clear, it’s perfectly okay to disagree with the decisions of both your coach and referees. Jesus disagreed with religious leaders on a regular basis. Disagreement is not wrong, but how you react based on your opinions can get you in trouble.
So how should you as a Christian athlete respond in these moments?
First, God calls you to make it a private matter. In Matthew 18:15 Jesus says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone.”
Arguing with your coach or referee during a game when emotions are high will only lead to foolish actions and words you will not be proud of later. A proper response would be to wait until after the game, approach the authority you are in conflict with, and have a conversation about the issue.
Next, check the root of your disagreement with authority. Is selfish pride at the core of your frustration? When a coach decides not to start you, does your pride incline you to react rashly?
Living for God calls us to live with a spirit of humility. In James 4:6 we find that, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” If you let humility be the root of your opinions, you may be surprised to find that what you agree and disagree with can change.
Disagreement with worldly authority can be productive when handled correctly. As an athlete called to a higher standard, you must choose to respond with maturity and wisdom. Let God’s grace and humility guide you in these defining moments.