In every area of life we have governing authorities who’s job is to enforce laws.

 In football it’s FIFA. In a wider sense we have tax inspectors, traffic wardens, the police force etc., etc.,

 Although they are often  unpopular, without these authorities, society would be in chaos - that’s obvious to everyone.

On the football field, there’s normally an impartial referee who’s trying to maintain fair play. He’s a human. He makes mistakes and yet he is often the most unpopular person on the football field. Why is that? Is there something wrong here? What’s going on?

The referee’s job is to see to it that the rules of the game are being kept.  He does this is by penalising the team that has broken the rules by awarding a free-kick or penalty to the opposing team. In more severe cases, he might use a yellow or red card to send off an offending player.  The problem for the referee however, is that he doesn’t have the power to change the temperament of a ‘hot head’ or the will of someone who’s determined to ‘cheat’. He can only punish him. Yet, what is really needed is a ‘change of mind’ in the attitude of the offending player, so that he stops wanting to break the rules.

It’s our belief that if we truly value God, we’ll value honesty and fair play because they are values that are important to Him.

If we really value our relationships (with our opponents and team mates) above the primal desire of just wanting to win a game of football, then there’ll be a difference in the way we play.  The competitive edge will be retained, but our matches will be played in a friendly, more enjoyable atmosphere. In this way, we think it ought to be possible for us to play without the need for any referees. There’s no getting around it - this is a true test of the quality of our Christianity.

One note though. Without making any excuses, we all need to remind ourselves that we are all flawed people living in a flawed world. However much we desire it, perfection isn’t going to happen - not in this life! That’s why it’s important that we constantly remind ourselves and encourage our team mates too, to play in an open hearted and honest manner. If we all do that, in comparison to normal football, we’ll see that our problems will be relatively minor.