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They shall know us by our love

Quarterback Andy Dalton at 2012 NFL Pro Bowl game Credit: Cpl. Jody Lee Smith/Wikipedia

Quarterback Andy Dalton at 2012 NFL Pro Bowl game Credit: Cpl. Jody Lee Smith/Wikipedia

Football is a tough sport, emotions can become heated. Tempers flare. It is a competitive environment.

Sometimes we forget it is just a sport and there are more important things in life such as many witnessed during last Monday night’s NFL game (Dec 4, 2017) featuring the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers won 23-20.

During Cincinnati’s first offensive series, Pittsburgh linebacker Ryan Shazier, 25, was hurt as he was trying to make a tackle. As he lay on the ground, Shazier was pointing to his back and the announcers noted that Shazier’s legs were not moving.

There was a lot of concern as medical staff strapped Shazier to a backboard and transported him to a Cincinnati hospital.

However, something happened at the end of the game that caught people’s attention.

After the game was over, some of the Pittsburgh players knelt to pray for Shazier. They were joined by Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton who held hands with the Steelers’ players as they prayed for their fallen teammate.

Andy Dalton, 30, the starting quarterback for the Bengals, is a Christian. He was a second round draft pick in 2011 and set a Bengal record for passing yards and touchdown passes in a single season.

A NFL pro bowler, Dalton is also very vocal about his faith:

“Not very many people get a chance to play in the NFL. To start – and start as a rookie – I feel blessed. So many things had to fall right to be where I am. I thank God every day.”

Though this is just football, Dalton’s willingness to pray for his opponent even after losing the game had an impact. He knew thousands would probably be watching, but he was not ashamed of his faith.

Many tweeted their response:

Though Shazier remains in hospital and is undergoing more tests, he is now able to move his legs. Many are believing for a full recovery.

Shazier, a pro bowler himself, tweeted:

Shazier’s teammate, free safety Mike Mitchell, also tweeted things were looking up and hinted that Shazier might be a Christian as well:

Though opponents on the field, believers are still united by their faith in Christ.

I remember many years ago, a friend of mine had led his parents to the Lord. At the time, they lived in a different community a short distance away. While my friend and I attended a charismatic church, his parents attended a fundamental Baptist Church that openly opposed the filling of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts.

When his parents moved into our city a few years later, they joined another like-minded Baptist church. This began to cause problems between my friend and his parents, because the minister was telling them their son was in serious Biblical error.

It was causing a rift and my friend finally agreed to meet with the senior pastor of the church and another Baptist minister.

My friend asked me to join him. We were young. They were seasoned ministers.

The two men aggressively interrogated us and challenged our beliefs. All we could do was share our testimonies. It was an intimidating meeting. We walked out like whipped puppies.

But a few years later, my friend found out the senior pastor of his parent’s church was seriously sick with pancreatic cancer and went to visit him in the hospital. The pastor who didn’t believe in the spiritual gifts or divine healing, allowed my friend to pray for healing.

After what we went through during that interrogation, I am not convinced I would have done the same.

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


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