As believers, we like telling the world that salvation is a free gift available by faith through Christ’s death and resurrection. But though it is free to everyone who chooses to believe, it also comes with a cost.
And that was evident in a recent article on CBN about a young Christian woman, Leah Church, who chose to leave the University of North Carolina’s basketball team rather than compromise her faith.
Having attended several basketball camps at the university as she was growing up, Church dreamed of playing for the school’s team.
And she was delighted when she received a full basketball scholarship to attend UNC.
However, after playing for two years, a coaching change resulted in a change of atmosphere, causing Church to make the difficult decision to leave the team.
“The first month or two with the new coaching staff were fine, but as time went on things became more difficult,” Church said in an interview with Gospel Coalition. “I started seeing that there were expectations for me to participate in the party lifestyle and condone things that didn’t line up with my biblical beliefs. I choose not to drink, and I’m choosing to save myself for marriage. I said ‘no’ to a lot of things, which made team bonding challenging.”
But the final straw came when the coaching staff announced that the team would be supporting several causes, that Church said, she couldn’t support as a believer.
“When the coach came out with the list of causes the team would be supporting, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to compromise and go against biblical principles,” Church said. “I decided, in light of eternity, that basketball wasn’t worth it.”
It was a difficult decision, that resulted in a loss of a scholarship. But Church pointed to one verse, written by Christ’s younger brother James, that helped her through this difficult time:
12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial (James 1:12a ESV)
She also advised believers to make their decision to stand for Christ before the trials start, rather than trying to make that decision during challenging times.
Church graduated from UNC in 2020 via online classes and now works as an assistant basketball coach and trainer. She has also had several opportunities to share her testimony at churches.
Actor Neal McDonough counted the cost
And the Christian Post had a similar story about actor Neal McDonough, 56, who faced similar problems when he decided to stand for his Christian values in Hollywood.
In 2010, McDonough, who starred in the Band of Brothers, was fired from the TV show, Scoundrels, after refusing to do a sex scene.
The fallout was immediate.
In an interview with Faithwire, McDonough said that after Scoundrels, he found it difficult for several years to find acting jobs because producers thought he was a “religious zealot.”
“I am very religious,” he added. “I put God and family first, and me second. That’s what I live by. It was hard for a few years.”
In an interview with Fox News, McDonough said, “I remember falling to my knees and saying, ‘God, why have you forgotten about me? Why am I being punished so much?’”
“And as soon as those words came out of my mouth, I realized what self-absorbed questions those were,” he added.
McDonough stated that a few minutes after uttered this prayer, he received a phone call offering him a role on Justified.
And McDonough also provided some advice on what to do during trials, stating that we need to be grateful for all the good things God has provided us.
“We all experience challenges in our lives,” he said in an interview with Fox News. “I should be grateful — and thankful — for all the blessings I’m given.”
READ: ‘Basketball Wasn’t Worth It’: Former UNC Player Chose to Leave Team Rather Than Compromise Her Faith AND Actor Pleaded With God When Standing By His Convictions Cost Him Jobs. Here’s What He Quickly Realized