This past Saturday night, I enjoyed watching the Cleveland Browns beat the defending Super Bowl champs—the Green Bay Packers—in a largely meaningless preseason NFL game. For Browns fans, any win feels good so it was irrelevant that it was “only” a preseason game. It was a win. But there was also another group for whom this game was anything but meaningless—the young players who are trying desperately to show why they should be kept on their teams. This year the pressure for rookies and free agents to prove their worth is greater than ever, because the lack of team workouts and practices (due to the lengthy NFL labor troubles of the spring and summer) make every moment an opportunity to show or devalue your worth to the team. Added to that pressure is the fact that the stands are filled with scouts from other teams, including even scouts from Canadian Football League teams and they are all watching. If you can’t grab a spot on your current team, maybe a scout will see your effort and you will get another chance elsewhere… if you perform well enough to get their attention. The pressure is really huge—particularly when everybody’s watching. We, too, have a certain kind of pressure as followers of Christ, and it is  because people are watching us as well. How we deal with one another as fellow believers can often cause watchers to make judgments about Christ and His love—either for good or for ill. When everybody’s watching, we need to make certain that, as much as possible, they see that which honorably displays the Christ who said:

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

People are watching… and so the question is this: What do they see? Do they see us mirroring the love of Christ for one another and for them, or do they see in us our pettiness and self-centered attitudes? Do they see in us the presence of a Savior who loves them? May we, with the help of Christ, show them His heart. People really are watching.   Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain