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"God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast and when I run, I feel his pleasure."

Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire

Ninth commandment

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour Exodus 20:16

The ninth commandment prohibits telling lies. We can think of many examples of when, in sport, we might be tempted not to be truthful:

Attempts to deceive the officials – eg pointing to your chest when you know the ball has hit your hand.

Registering a player with a false date of birth so that they can play in a lower age-group. Playing a banned player under a different name.

We can take the commandment further by seeing in it an attempt to damage the reputation of another person – by outright lies or by spin and innuendo.

But avoiding telling lies is not enough, as Christians we should be aiming only to say things that are positive, helpful, edifying. We should be giving words of encouragement to team-mates, our coach and the officials – rather than negative comments.

When we win, we should aim to be humble. When we lose we should be gracious and generous. Saying, "Well done. You deserved to win" is much better than saying "You were lucky" - however much you might be hurting inside.

How we react when we lose may be an indication that we play sport to boost our ego, rather than for an intrinsic love of the activity.

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