When we think of compromise in sports, it can appear in several forms. It can take the form of laziness—or, put another way, compromising by not giving our very best. Cutting corners in the film room or in the weight room or on the practice field always comes back to haunt you because eventually your performance on the field will reflect the fact that you didn’t really give your all in practice. A different kind of compromise, however, is when you compromise your values to try and get a shortcut to success. We have seen that in the steroid-ridden 90s of baseball, we have seen it with the various “videogate” attempts at gaining a competitive advantage in the NFL, and we have seen it in recent recruiting scandals in college sports. When you start compromising your values to get an edge, you have already lost—regardless of what the scoreboard may say at the end of the contest.
Perhaps one of the most tragic figures in the Bible was a man who was also continually looking for shortcuts. He was King Saul—the first king of Israel—a man blessed with privilege, opportunity, and resources. Yet, it seems that, at every level, his life was marked by compromise. The final compromise was his most dramatic, when he went to a witch to gain spiritual guidance—after he himself had driven all the mediums and witches from the land. No wonder God had said that Saul would forfeit his kingdom—because his heart was not a heart after God’s heart. The prophet Samuel told him:
“But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” (1 Samuel 13:14)
David would replace Saul, because Saul’s heart was not marked by commitment to the things of God, but by the shortcuts of compromise geared toward promoting self and selfish interests. A strong and serious warning, to be sure. Join us tomorrow on Sports Spectrum radio as we take a further look at the need for healthy commitment as we face the pressures to compromise in life.
Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain