God willing, tonight I am on the field officiating a varsity high school football game (Me and my son in law Austin to the right). At the beginning of the year I was hesitant to throw my flag to call a penalty because I knew in most cases the player really didn’t mean to commit the foul. He made an honest mistake and was doing his best in a stressful game situation. I really didn’t think the player thought before the play, “I’m going to hold this time,” or “I’m going to start earlier on this play,” or “I’m going to spear the runner with my helmet first chance I get.” So when I saw those things, because I didn’t think the player had intentionally decided to break a rule BEFORE the play, I let it pass and just said… “Watch that next time 54…”
Then I realized some things. Some important things.
1. How do I know the player didn’t decide to hold before the play?
2. When one player breaks the rules, it gives him an unfair advantage on that play and a penalty must be assessed.
3. Rules are to make the game fair AND protect the players.
4. For me not to enforce the rules is WORSE than the player breaking the rules.
I realized if I didn’t throw my flag when I saw a rule violation, I was an unjust judge! I also realized every time I threw my flag someone was going to be mad and someone was going to be glad. My job is to keep the rules of the game… impartially. As it is written in Pr 29:27, “An unjust man (Official?) is an abomination to the righteous, but one whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked.” Thus…
A poor official angers the coaches and players who play by the rules,
A good official angers coaches and players who break the rules.
Many people don’t like God OR His rules (Commandments). They want to live contrary to what God requires without penalty. While I cannot know the intent of the heart of players on a football field, GOD knows the intent of every person’s heart whether they keep his rules or not. And HE will judge perfectly… according to HIS commandments… exposing the purposes and intent of the heart.