Welcome to “Athlos” a weekly Wednesday blog which examines pillars of personal excellence and regularly brings together the worlds of spirituality and sport.
“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.”-Ephesians 2:14
Last weekend one of English sport’s emerging rivalries played out another epic chapter in the beautiful game we call football. Liverpool and Manchester City, for the second time this season drew 2-2 with each other, in a match that was of the highest quality.
Yet, there was a controversy. It was not the referee, neither was it the conduct of either group of supporters. The problem was the warmth after the game between the respective players and even the managers, Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool and Pep Guardiola of Manchester City. Some fans actually think that the rivalry is too friendly!
In fact, BBC Sport reported Klopp as saying that his counterpart Guardiola was the best manager in the world. Hats off, Jurgen. It takes humility and magnanimity to look at a fierce competitor and give the credit that is due to him without your ego getting in the way. Manchester City standout Kevin de Bruyne said this to the BBC: “You don’t have to fight all the time. We battle on the pitch and that is it.”
In other words, a line can be drawn. On the field the players give their all, but off of it they choose mutual respect, peace and camaraderie. It is this type of goodwill and relational unity that the apostle Paul envisioned in Ephesians 2 above as he reminded Jews and Gentiles that hostility no longer needed to be their reality. This is the message of the cross and the resurrection. It is at the heart of celebrating Easter.
This season of reflection on the love and sacrifice of Jesus is an opportune one to intentionally pursue or restore harmony in your most important relationships.
If you were inspired by this blog, please consider sharing it with one other person today. To learn more about these and other related themes that promote the cultivation of an integrated inner self, read UNBEATABLE! which is available on Amazon in print and as an e-book.