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The issue of Sunday sport is always a difficult and sensitive topic for parents of sporty children, with no easy answers. But a topic which is essential to address. Some parents have written in with this question:
Dear Christians in Sport,
How should I respond to someone at church who tells me I shouldn't let my child compete on a Sunday?
This question could come from other parents, or someone in the leadership of the church, a homegroup leader, or a friend who cares about you and your child.
The Bible does not give a specific answer to dealing with sport on a Sunday, yet it does give some principles which are helpful. Check out The Academy for more great resources exploring these principles or watch the brief video below. Today, however, we’ll think specifically about how you can answer or respond to a question like this.
When sport and church clash, a tough call needs to be made.
As we begin to work towards decisions it’s worth saying that how to view the sabbath or holy festivals is an example of a ‘disputable matter’ which Paul talks about in Romans 14 - issues that cause Christians to take different views and have the potential to cause division or tensions.
With this in mind, I think there are a couple of things to consider as you look to respond to others in church who have a different view:
In Romans 14, Paul urges his readers to be ‘fully convinced in your own mind’. What do you have in place to help you think this issue through as a family, in order to become convinced?
It is important to know why you have made the decision you have, as well as being willing to listen, and being open to maybe even change your decision if you are convinced of a different view.
The letter of Hebrews is written to a people who were in danger of drifting from their faith in God. Chapter 10:24-25 is a call for them to hold unswervingly to the hope of the gospel.
Consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
This question might come from a genuine concern and care from someone in your church.
Are you able to help them understand that sport is a wonderful gift from God and can be a way to worship Him and witness for Him? Yet you are aware that sport, and progressing in sport, requires time, commitment and sacrifice.
Do you have creative ways to help your child meet regularly with other Christians? How will they spend time not just with other young people but the wider diverse church family? How will they be taught from God’s word? What can you do as parents to disciple your child and spur and encourage them on in their faith?
Remember this isn’t to try and justify your decision to someone else – but to become fully convinced in your own mind as you pray and think and talk this through.
To help become clear yourself, it is essential to have open and ongoing conversations with those around you:
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