How Would Jesus Compete?


"You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also." -Matthew 5:38-39


When the 2004 NBA Western Conference semifinal series between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Sacramento Kings began heating up, tempers started flaring. Kings guard Anthony Peeler hit former teammate Kevin Garnett in the face with an elbow during the third quarter of Game 6 and was immediately ejected from the game. “It was retaliation after [Garnett] hit me with an elbow,” said Peeler.

Retaliation is a natural response when we feel we have been wronged. If others hurt us, we want to hurt them back so that they know how it feels. We want them to feel the pain we feel. However, as Christians our desire is to live as Jesus did, so we must look at how He handled injustice. The Bible addresses this in several places, one of which is 1 Peter 2:21,23:

For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps . . . when reviled, He did not revile in return; when suffering, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to the One who judges justly.

As a Christian competitor, know that handling inappropriate behavior aimed at you doesn’t mean you can’t play hard. We should play hard—not to pay back another person, but to honor the Lord and help our team win.


1. Have you experienced personal attacks in competition?
2. Why is it important to handle these personal assaults the way that Jesus did?
3. What do you find in 1 Peter 3:12-14 that could help you?


Proverbs 20:22; Romans 12:19-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 2:19-21


Father, help me compete in a way that reveals Jesus’ presence in me. Help me turn the other cheek, even when I don’t feel like it.

Bible Reference: 
1 Peter 3