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It's Still Cheating
Theme of the week: Sports: Make It a Thinking Man's Game
Tuesday, July 8, 2014

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Key Bible Verse: "Do not steal. Do not deceive or cheat one another." (Leviticus 19:11)

Dig Deeper: Proverbs 11:1-6

Let's, for the record, call PED [performance-enhancing drug] use what it is: cheating. Sin, if you will. A willful attempt to subjugate the rules of the game for the furthering of one's own career.

So when Christian ballplayer Andy Pettitte halfway apologizes but asserts that he "doesn't consider himself a cheater" for taking human growth hormone to rehabilitate a shoulder injury, he is still a cheater. He just hasn't fully grasped it yet. He asserts that he "didn't do it to get an advantage," but isn't taking a banned substance to recover faster from a shoulder injury so that you can play baseball exactly that?

Besides trying to gain an advantage, taking PEDs diminishes the key goal of sports: to treat fans to a fair competition in which skilled athletes achieve success with their natural abilities. The joy comes from human achievement, not medical enhancement.

The dollar amounts on the line for top-performing athletes are huge. [And we're talking about] a lot of money for kids who probably haven't seen a lot of money in their lives. It's the promise of untold fame and riches, and the ability to provide for one's children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. It's still cheating.

—Ted Kluck in The Reason for Sports

My Response: Do I feel that Christian athletes should be held to a higher standard than non-Christian athletes? Why or why not?

Thought to Apply: I would prefer even to fail with honor than to win by cheating.—Sophocles (Greek poet)

Adapted from The Reason for Sports (Moody, 2009) by permission. All rights reserved by the copyright holder and/or the publisher. May not be reproduced.

Prayer for the Week
Lord, help me to watch sports—and all that entertains me—with my mind fully engaged; and even as I enjoy what I watch, help me to be discerning and apply Christian principles to all of my entertainment choices.

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Jake C Neal

July 10, 2014  3:01pm

There are engineers dedicated to the task of making the next swimsuit, or bike, or golf club or ball better than before, enhancing the performance of athletes. There are phys ed gurus who dedicate their lives creating workout regimes that push athletes to the next level, enhancing the performance of athletes. Yet when medical companies make breakthroughs and athletes use them, the governing bodies tell them no, that it's cheating and sends a bad example to a kid... Tell that to the parents who can't buy their kid the best gear, training, and exposure he needs to compete with other kids.

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ANTHONY Swaggerty

July 08, 2014  5:57am

Amen, I really appreciate this word, it delivers the words to a common thread that surrounds all sports. Being a natural is awesome but it takes guts or Godly inspired dedication and belief in Him that if it is meant to be, you will be all you can be with Christ at the helm. If an Athlete professes to be a Christian, he will be watched for any failures of this world... Like Tim Tebow, a wonderful brother in Christ. He was good for the Game, look what the world did, constantly put him down as fake and not a good player, well he wins in my eyes. God was and is on his side... Anthony

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