Example #42 Sport and Respect

What if Primary football taught fairness and respect?

Jim is a retired teacher who comes in to help run the school football teams. The teams are fairly experienced and the first team plays in a local school tournament. There had been problems with the way they responded to decisions by the referee and linesmen, and Jim felt that this was due to influences coming from professional football.

"I divided the pupils into several five-a-side teams, and over a number of weeks I made sure that all team members experienced being both players and referees/linesmen as we played practise games. In the final session, I asked team members to pair up and to describe both experiences thinking about the following:
  • What was good about both roles?
  • What was negative about them?
  • How in each role would you want to be treated?
"The pairs shared their insights, and we went onto look a series of video clips of professional games that showed how referees are treated and how players felt when bad decisions were made. I also showed some clips of players and referees who behaved differently. We teased out what was different focusing on fairness and respect. I did not give them any rules but I asked them to come up with and commit to a way of behaving as a team that was fair and respectful to both players and referees."

What’s going on here?

Jim saw the interaction of referee and player as a context for behaving justly and treating people as beings made by God who deserve respect.

He engaged students in experiencing contrasting roles and reflecting explicitly on their experiences in a manner framed by ideas of fairness and respect.

He reshaped his practice by using assigned roles, video clips, intentionally chosen questions, and the framing concepts of fairness and respect to shape students' engagement.

How do I do this myself?

What does this have to do with faith, hope and love?

The discord and disrespect that is sometimes exhibited in society is often the result of injustice – accidental or deliberate – that we experience as part of life. The Bible makes it clear that life is not now as God intended. Christian hope for the future is a world where there is no injustice or unfairness, and Christians seek to reflect that hope in daily living. Treating others with respect and fairness is an aspect of love. Fairness is one aspect of justice and most people seem to have an awareness of what is and is not just, hence the frequency of the cry: ‘It’s not fair’. For Christians justice is a reflection of a just God.

What difference does it make?

Giving students an experience of both roles helped them to empathise with those in other roles and reflect on their experiences. As a result they were better prepared to create ways of behaving that would be fair. It is all too easy to create what we consider to be fair from our own perspective.

Where could we go from here?

In PE, students can look at ways in which fairness and respect can be embedded in how they engage in the sport. The strategy of giving students a taste of another person’s experience helps them to think about the ‘golden rule’ (Matthew 7:12) and can be used in different parts of the curriculum. Giving pupils a direct experience is not always appropriate. There are some situations and people we would not want pupils to experience or to empathise with. Neither experience nor empathy are intrinsically good; they can, however, be used to serve good purposes.

Digging deeper

God calls people to follow ‘justice and only justice’ (Deuteronomy 16:20). Mary in her song (Luke 1:51-52) reflects on a God of justice who humbles the proud and lifts the poor. Jesus welcomed the marginalised, mixing with the poor and the rejected and people labelled as sinners by others (Matthew 9:10-12). God's justice shows itself in acting on behalf of the powerless (Psalm 72:1-20; Psalm 7:1-17; Psalm 12:1-8) often represented as the orphan, the widow and the stranger – those with no one to defend them and who are often treated unfairly. God expects his people to make justice and redressing wrongs their aim (Isaiah 1:13-17).
Charity is no substitute for justice withheld. St Augustine
Sometimes people respond to unfairness in a way that just creates a situation of unfairness for a different group. Jim tried to encourage justice and respect for both groups. Jim encouraged his teams to see both players and referees as children of God (1 John 3:1-2); as such they both deserve to be treated with respect. They do not have to earn it. Respect comes as part of being made by God but responsibility for acting fairly and being responsible for actions also comes as part of being a child of God.
In the moral sphere, every act of justice or charity involves putting ourselves in the other person's place and thus transcending our own competitive particularity. C. S. Lewis
The Bible describes God as angry at injustice and the prophet Amos thundered against the injustices of his day where the vulnerable were oppressed and the rich just got richer. He called for justice to roll like a river (Amos 5:24). People seem to have an innate sense of justice and are rightly outraged at the injustice they see in the world (Malachi 2:17). When we resist injustice there is an acknowledgement of the opponent as a responsible moral agent. To resist is to pay people the compliment that they are responsible for their actions.

Explore similar examples:

What if competitive sports developed restraint?
What if celebrating a goal were about acknowledging others?
What if physical education helped students to address their fears?
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1Don't condemn others, and God won't condemn you. 2God will be as hard on you as you are on others! He will treat you exactly as you treat them. 3You can see the speck in your friend's eye, but you don't notice the log in your own eye. 4How can you say, My friend, let me take the speck out of your eye, when you don't see the log in your own eye? 5You're nothing but show-offs! First, take the log out of your own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friend's eye. 6Don't give to dogs what belongs to God. They will only turn and attack you. Don't throw pearls down in front of pigs. They will trample all over them. Ask, search, knock (Luke 11.9-13) Jesus continued: 7Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. 9Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? 10Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? 11As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask. 12Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the Law and the Prophets are all about. The narrow gate (Luke 13.24) Jesus continued: 13Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. 14But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it. A tree and its fruit (Luke 6.43-45) Jesus continued: 15Watch out for false prophets! They dress up like sheep, but inside they are wolves who have come to attack you. 16You can tell what they are by what they do. No one picks grapes or figs from thorn bushes. 17A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 19Every tree that produces bad fruit will be chopped down and burnt. 20You can tell who the false prophets are by their deeds. A warning (Luke 13.26,27) Jesus continued: 21Not everyone who calls me their Lord will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only the ones who obey my Father in heaven will get in. 22On the day of judgment many will call me their Lord. They will say, We preached in your name, and in your name we forced out demons and performed many miracles. 23But I will tell them, I will have nothing to do with you! Get out of my sight, you evil people! Two builders (Luke 6.47-49) Jesus continued: 24Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. 25Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock. 26Anyone who hears my teachings and doesn't obey them is like a foolish person who built a house on sand. 27The rain poured down, the rivers flooded, and the winds blew and beat against that house. Finally, it fell with a crash. 28When Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were surprised at his teaching. 29He taught them like someone with authority, and not like their teachers of the Law of Moses. Jesus heals a man (Mark 1.40-45; Luke 5.12-16)
1People of Israel, you must celebrate Passover in the month of Abib, because one night in that month years ago, the Lord your God rescued you from Egypt. 2The Passover sacrifice must be a cow, a sheep, or a goat, and you must offer it at the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. 3Eat all the meat of the Passover sacrifice that same night. But don't serve bread made with yeast at the Passover meal. Serve the same kind of thin bread that you ate when you were slaves suffering in Egypt and when you had to leave Egypt quickly. As long as you live, this thin bread will remind you of the day you left Egypt. For seven days following Passover, don't make any bread with yeast. In fact, there should be no yeast anywhere in Israel. 5Don't offer the Passover sacrifice in any town where you happen to live. 6It must be offered at the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. Kill the sacrifice at sunset, the time of day when you left Egypt. 7Then cook it and eat it there at the place of worship, returning to your tents the next morning. 8Eat thin bread for the next six days. Then on the seventh day, don't do any work. Instead, come together and worship the Lord . The Harvest Festival (Exodus 34.22; Leviticus 23.15-21) Moses said to Israel: 9Seven weeks after you start your grain harvest, 10go to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped and celebrate the Harvest Festival in honour of the Lord your God. Bring him an offering as large as you can afford, depending on how big a harvest he has given you. Be sure to take along your sons and daughters and all your servants. Also invite the poor, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. 12Remember that you used to be slaves in Egypt, so obey these laws. The Festival of Shelters (Leviticus 23.33-43; Numbers 29.12-38) Moses said to Israel: 13After you have finished the grain harvest and the grape harvest, take your sons and daughters and all your servants to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. Celebrate the Festival of Shelters for seven days. Also invite the poor, including Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows. The Lord will give you big harvests and make you successful in everything you do. You will be completely happy, so celebrate this festival in honour of the Lord your God. Three festivals at the place of worship (Exodus 23.14-17) Moses said: 16Each year there are three festivals when all Israelite men must go to the place where the Lord chooses to be worshipped. These are the Festival of Thin Bread, the Harvest Festival, and the Festival of Shelters. And don't forget to take along a gift for the Lord . 17The bigger the harvest the Lord gives you, the bigger your gift should be. Treat everyone with justice Moses said to Israel: 18After you are settled in the towns that you will receive from the Lord your God, the people in each town must appoint judges and other officers. Those of you who become judges must be completely fair when you make legal decisions, even if someone important is involved. Don't take bribes to give unfair decisions. Bribes keep people who are wise from seeing the truth and turn honest people into liars. 20People of Israel, if you want to enjoy a long and successful life, make sure that everyone is treated with justice in the land the Lord is giving you. Don't set up sacred poles or stones Moses said to Israel: 21When you build the altar for offering sacrifices to the Lord your God, don't set up a sacred pole for the worship of the goddess Asherah. 22And don't set up a sacred stone! The Lord hates these things. Sacrifices that have something wrong with them Moses said to Israel:
1Many people have tried to tell the story of what God has done among us. 2They wrote what we had been told by the ones who were there in the beginning and saw what happened. 3So I made a careful study of everything and then decided to write and tell you exactly what took place. Honourable Theophilus, 4I have done this to let you know the truth about what you have heard. An angel tells about the birth of John 5When Herod was king of Judea, there was a priest called Zechariah from the priestly group of Abijah. His wife Elizabeth was from the family of Aaron. 6Both of them were good people and pleased the Lord God by obeying all that he had commanded. 7But they did not have children. Elizabeth could not have any, and both Zechariah and Elizabeth were already old. 8One day Zechariah's group of priests were on duty, and he was serving God as a priest. 9According to the custom of the priests, he had been chosen to go into the Lord's temple that day and to burn incense, 10while the people stood outside praying. 11All at once an angel from the Lord appeared to Zechariah at the right side of the altar. 12Zechariah was confused and afraid when he saw the angel. 13But the angel told him: Don't be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayers. Your wife Elizabeth will have a son, and you must name him John. 14His birth will make you very happy, and many people will be glad. 15Your son will be a great servant of the Lord. He must never drink wine or beer, and the power of the Holy Spirit will be with him from the time he is born. 16John will lead many people in Israel to turn back to the Lord their God. 17He will go ahead of the Lord with the same power and spirit that Elijah had. And because of John, parents will be more thoughtful of their children. And people who now disobey God will begin to think as they ought to. That is how John will get people ready for the Lord. 18Zechariah said to the angel, How will I know this is going to happen? My wife and I are both very old. 19The angel answered, I am Gabriel, God's servant, and I was sent to tell you this good news. 20You have not believed what I have said. So you will not be able to say a thing until all this happens. But everything will take place when it is supposed to. 21The crowd was waiting for Zechariah and kept wondering why he was staying so long in the temple. 22When he did come out, he could not speak, and they knew he had seen a vision. He motioned to them with his hands, but did not say a thing. 23When Zechariah's time of service in the temple was over, he went home. 24Soon after that, his wife was expecting a baby, and for five months she did not leave the house. She said to herself, 25What the Lord has done for me will keep people from looking down on me. An angel tells about the birth of Jesus 26One month later God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in Galilee 27with a message for a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph from the family of King David. 28The angel greeted Mary and said, You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you. 29Mary was confused by the angel's words and wondered what they meant. 30Then the angel told Mary, Don't be afraid! God is pleased with you, 31and you will have a son. His name will be Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was. 33He will rule the people of Israel for ever, and his kingdom will never end. 34Mary asked the angel, How can this happen? I am not married! 35The angel answered, The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God's power will come over you. So your child will be called the holy Son of God. 36Your relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old. No one thought she could ever have a baby, but in three months she will have a son. 37Nothing is impossible for God! 38Mary said, I am the Lord's servant! Let it happen as you have said. And the angel left her. Mary visits Elizabeth 39A short time later Mary hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea. 40She went into Zechariah's home, where she greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, her baby moved within her. The Holy Spirit came upon Elizabeth. 42Then in a loud voice she said to Mary: God has blessed you more than any other woman! He has also blessed the child you will have. 43Why should the mother of my Lord come to me? 44As soon as I heard your greeting, my baby became happy and moved within me. 45The Lord has blessed you because you believed that he will keep his promise. Mary's song of praise 46Mary said: With all my heart I praise the Lord, 47and I am glad because of God my Saviour. 48He cares for me, his humble servant. From now on, all people will say God has blessed me. 49God All-Powerful has done great things for me, and his name is holy. 50He always shows mercy to everyone who worships him. 51The Lord has used his powerful arm to scatter those who are proud. 52He drags strong rulers from their thrones and puts humble people in places of power. 53God gives the hungry good things to eat, and sends the rich away with nothing. 54He helps his servant Israel and is always merciful to his people. 55The Lord made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his family for ever! 56Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months. Then she went back home. The birth of John the Baptist 57When Elizabeth's son was born, 58her neighbours and relatives heard how kind the Lord had been to her, and they too were glad. 59Eight days later they did for the child what the Law of Moses commands. They were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60But Elizabeth said, No! His name is John. 61The people argued, No one in your family has ever been named John. 62So they motioned to Zechariah to find out what he wanted to name his son. 63Zechariah asked for a writing tablet. Then he wrote, His name is John. Everyone was amazed. 64Straight away Zechariah started speaking and praising God. 65All the neighbours were frightened because of what had happened, and everywhere in the hill country people kept talking about these things. 66Everyone who heard about this wondered what this child would grow up to be. They knew that the Lord was with him. Zechariah praises the Lord 67The Holy Spirit came upon Zechariah, and he began to speak: 68Praise the Lord, the God of Israel! He has come to save his people. 69Our God has given us a mighty Saviour from the family of David his servant. 70Long ago the Lord promised by the words of his holy prophets 71to save us from our enemies and from everyone who hates us. 72God said he would be kind to our people and keep his sacred promise. 73He told our ancestor Abraham 74that he would rescue us from our enemies. Then we could serve him without fear, 75by being holy and good as long as we live. 76You, my son, will be called a prophet of God in heaven above. You will go ahead of the Lord to get everything ready for him. 77You will tell his people that they can be saved when their sins are forgiven. 78God's love and kindness will shine upon us like the sun that rises in the sky. 79On us who live in the dark shadow of death this light will shine to guide us into a life of peace. 80As John grew up, God's Spirit gave him great power. John lived in the desert until the time he was sent to the people of Israel. The birth of Jesus (Matthew 1.18-25)
1Jesus got into a boat and crossed back over to the town where he lived. 2Some people soon brought to him a crippled man lying on a mat. When Jesus saw how much faith they had, he said to the crippled man, My friend, don't worry! Your sins are forgiven. 3Some teachers of the Law of Moses said to themselves, Jesus must think he is God! 4But Jesus knew what was in their minds, and he said, Why are you thinking such evil things? 5Is it easier for me to tell this crippled man that his sins are forgiven or to tell him to get up and walk? 6But I will show you that the Son of Man has the right to forgive sins here on earth. So Jesus said to the man, Get up! Pick up your mat and go on home. 7The man got up and went home. 8When the crowds saw this, they were afraid and praised God for giving such authority to people. Jesus chooses Matthew (Mark 2.13-17; Luke 5.27-32) 9As Jesus was leaving, he saw a tax collector named Matthew sitting at the place for paying taxes. Jesus said to him, Come with me. Matthew got up and went with him. 10Later, Jesus and his disciples were having dinner at Matthew's house. Many tax collectors and other sinners were also there. 11Some Pharisees asked Jesus' disciples, Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and other sinners? 12Jesus heard them and answered, Healthy people don't need a doctor, but sick people do. 13Go and learn what the Scriptures mean when they say, Instead of offering sacrifices to me, I want you to be merciful to others. I didn't come to invite good people to be my followers. I came to invite sinners. People ask about going without eating (Mark 2.18-22; Luke 5.33-39) 14One day some followers of John the Baptist came and asked Jesus, Why do we and the Pharisees often go without eating, while your disciples never do? 15Jesus answered: The friends of a bridegroom don't go without eating while he is still with them. But the time will come when he will be taken from them. Then they will go without eating. 16No one uses a new piece of cloth to patch old clothes. The patch would shrink and tear a bigger hole. 17No one pours new wine into old wineskins. The wine would swell and burst the old skins. Then the wine would be lost, and the skins would be ruined. New wine must be put into new wineskins. Both the skins and the wine will then be safe. A dying girl and a sick woman (Mark 5.21-43; Luke 8.40-56) 18While Jesus was still speaking, an official came and knelt in front of him. The man said, My daughter has just died! Please come and place your hand on her. Then she will live again. 19Jesus and his disciples got up and went with the man. 20A woman who had been bleeding for twelve years came up behind Jesus and barely touched his clothes. 21She had said to herself, If I can just touch his clothes, I will get well. 22Jesus turned. He saw the woman and said, Don't worry! You are now well because of your faith. At that moment she was healed. 23When Jesus went into the home of the official and saw the musicians and the crowd of mourners, 24he said, Get out of here! The little girl isn't dead. She is just asleep. Everyone started laughing at Jesus. 25But after the crowd had been sent out of the house, Jesus went to the girl's bedside. He took her by the hand and helped her up. 26News about this spread all over that part of the country. Jesus heals two blind men 27As Jesus was walking along, two blind men began following him and shouting, Son of David, have pity on us! 28After Jesus had gone indoors, the two blind men came up to him. He asked them, Do you believe I can make you well? Yes, Lord, they answered. 29Jesus touched their eyes and said, Because of your faith, you will be healed. 30They were able to see, and Jesus strictly warned them not to tell anyone about him. 31But they left and talked about him to everyone in that part of the country. Jesus heals a man who could not talk 32As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, some people brought to him a man who could not talk because a demon was in him. 33After Jesus had forced the demon out, the man started talking. The crowds were so amazed that they began saying, Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel! 34But the Pharisees said, The leader of the demons gives him the power to force out demons. Jesus has pity on people 35Jesus went to every town and village. He taught in their meeting places and preached the good news about God's kingdom. Jesus also healed every kind of disease and sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he felt sorry for them. They were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37He said to his disciples, A large crop is in the fields, but there are only a few workers. 38Ask the Lord in charge of the harvest to send out workers to bring it in. Jesus chooses his twelve apostles (Mark 3.13-19; Luke 6.12-16)
1Please help the king to be honest and fair just like you, our God. 2Let him be honest and fair with all your people, especially the poor. 3Let peace and justice rule every mountain and hill. 4Let the king defend the poor, rescue the homeless, and crush everyone who hurts them. 5Let the king live for ever like the sun and the moon. 6Let him be as helpful as rain that refreshes the meadows and the ground. 7Let the king be fair with everyone, and let there be peace until the moon falls from the sky. 8Let his kingdom reach from sea to sea, from the River Euphrates across all the earth. 9Force the desert tribes to accept his rule, and make his enemies crawl in the dust. 10Force the rulers of Tarshish and of the islands to pay taxes to him. Make the kings of Sheba and of Seba bring gifts. 11Make other rulers bow down and all nations serve him. 12Do this because the king rescues the homeless when they cry out, and he helps everyone who is poor and in need. 13The king has pity on the weak and the helpless and protects those in need. 14He cares when they suffer, and he saves them from cruel and violent deaths. 15Long live the king! Give him gold from Sheba. Always pray for the king and praise him each day. 16Let cities overflow with food and hills be covered with grain, just like Mount Lebanon. Let the people in the cities prosper like wild flowers. 17May the glory of the king shine brightly for ever like the sun in the sky. Let him make nations prosper and learn to praise him. 18Lord God of Israel, we praise you. Only you can work miracles. 19We will always praise your glorious name. Let your glory be seen everywhere on earth. Amen and amen. 20This ends the prayers of David, the son of Jesse. (Psalms 7389) (A psalm by Asaph.) God is good
1You, Lord God, are my protector. Rescue me and keep me safe from all who chase me. 2Or else they will rip me apart like lions attacking a victim, and no one will save me. 3I am innocent, Lord God! 4I have not betrayed a friend or had pity on an enemy who attacks for no reason. 5If I have done any of this, then let my enemies chase and capture me. Let them trample me to death and leave me in the dirt. 6Get angry, Lord God! Do something! Attack my furious enemies. See that justice is done. 7Make the nations come to you, as you sit on your throne above them all. 8Our Lord , judge the nations! Judge me and show that I am honest and innocent. 9You know every heart and mind, and you always do right. Now make violent people stop, but protect all of us who obey you. 10You, God, are my shield, the protector of everyone whose heart is right. 11You see that justice is done, and each day you take revenge. 12Whenever your enemies refuse to change their ways, you sharpen your sword and string your bow. 13Your deadly arrows are ready with flaming tips. 14An evil person is like a woman about to give birth to a hateful, deceitful, and rebellious child. 15Such people dig a deep hole, then fall in it themselves. 16The trouble they cause comes back on them, and their heads are crushed by their own evil deeds. 17I will praise you, Lord ! You always do right. I will sing about you, the Lord Most High. (A psalm by David for the music leader. ) The wonderful name of the Lord
1Please help me, Lord ! All who were faithful and all who were loyal have disappeared. 2Everyone tells lies, and no one is sincere. 3Won't you chop off all flattering tongues that boast so loudly? 4They say to themselves, We are great speakers. No one else has a chance. 5But you, Lord , tell them, I will do something! The poor are ill-treated and helpless people moan. I'll rescue all who suffer. 6Our Lord , you are true to your promises, and your word is like silver heated seven times in a fiery furnace. 7You will protect us and always keep us safe from those people. 8But all who are wicked will keep on strutting, while everyone praises their shameless deeds. (A psalm by David for the music leader.) A prayer for the Lord 's help
1I am Isaiah, the son of Amoz. And this is the message that I was given about Judah and Jerusalem when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were the kings of Judah: A guilty nation 2The Lord has said, Listen, heaven and earth! The children I raised have turned against me. 3Oxen and donkeys know who owns and feeds them, but my people won't ever learn. 4Israel, you are a sinful nation loaded down with guilt. You are wicked and corrupt and have turned from the Lord , the holy God of Israel. 5Why be punished more? Why not give up your sin? Your head is badly bruised, and you are weak all over. 6From your head to your toes there isn't a healthy spot. Bruises, cuts, and open sores go without care or oil to ease the pain. A country in ruins 7Your country lies in ruins; your towns are in ashes. Foreigners and strangers take and destroy your land while you watch. 8Enemies surround Jerusalem, alone like a hut in a vineyard or in a cucumber field. 9Zion would have disappeared like Sodom and Gomorrah, if the Lord All-Powerful had not let a few of its people survive. Justice, not sacrifices 10You are no better than the leaders and people of Sodom and Gomorrah! So listen to the Lord God: 11Your sacrifices mean nothing to me. I am sick of your offerings of rams and choice cattle; I don't like the blood of bulls or lambs or goats. 12Who asked you to bring all this when you come to worship me? Stay out of my temple! 13Your sacrifices are worthless, and incense is disgusting. I can't stand the evil you do on your New Moon Festivals or on your Sabbaths and other times of worship. 14I hate your New Moon Festivals and all others as well. They are a heavy burden I am tired of carrying. 15No matter how much you pray, I won't listen. You are too violent. 16Wash yourselves clean! I am disgusted with your filthy deeds. Stop doing wrong 17and learn to live right. See that justice is done. Defend widows and orphans and help those in need. An invitation from the Lord 18I, the Lord , invite you to come and talk it over. Your sins are scarlet red, but they will be whiter than snow or wool. 19If you willingly obey me, the best crops in the land will be yours. 20But if you turn against me, your enemies will kill you. I, the Lord , have spoken. The Lord condemns Jerusalem 21Jerusalem, you are like an unfaithful wife. Once your judges were honest and your people lived right; now you are a city full of murderers. 22Your silver is fake, and your wine is watered down. 23Your leaders have rejected me to become friends of crooks; your rulers are looking for gifts and bribes. Widows and orphans never get a fair trial. 24I am the Lord All-Powerful, the mighty ruler of Israel, and I make you a promise: you are now my enemy, and I will show my anger by taking revenge on you. 25I will punish you terribly and burn away everything that makes you unfit to worship me. 26Jerusalem, I will choose judges and advisers like those you had before. Your new name will be Justice and Faithfulness. The Lord will save Jerusalem 27Jerusalem, you will be saved by showing justice; Zion's people who turn to me will be saved by doing right. 28But those rebellious sinners who turn against me, the Lord , will all disappear. 29You will be made ashamed of those groves of trees where you worshipped idols. 30You will be like a grove of trees dying in a drought. 31Your strongest leaders will be like dry wood set on fire by their idols. No one will be able to help, as they all go up in flames. Peace that lasts for ever
1Think how much the Father loves us. He loves us so much that he lets us be called his children, as we truly are. But since the people of this world did not know who Christ is, they don't know who we are. 2My dear friends, we are already God's children, though what we will be hasn't yet been seen. But we do know that when Christ returns, we will be like him, because we will see him as he truly is. 3This hope makes us keep ourselves holy, just as Christ is holy. 4Everyone who sins breaks God's law, because sin is the same as breaking God's law. 5You know that Christ came to take away sins. He isn't sinful, 6and people who stay united in their hearts with him won't keep on sinning. If they do keep on sinning, they don't know Christ, and they have never seen him. 7Children, don't be fooled. Anyone who does right is good, just like Christ himself. 8Anyone who keeps on sinning belongs to the devil. He has sinned from the beginning, but the Son of God came to destroy all that he has done. 9God's children cannot keep on being sinful. His life-giving power lives in them and makes them his children, so that they cannot keep on sinning. 10You can tell God's children from the devil's children, because those who belong to the devil refuse to do right or to love each other. Love each other 11From the beginning you were told that we must love each other. 12Don't be like Cain, who belonged to the devil and murdered his own brother. Why did he murder him? He did it because his brother was good, and he was evil. 13My friends, don't be surprised if the people of this world hate you. 14Our love for each other proves that we have gone from death to life. But if you don't love each other, you are still under the power of death. 15If you hate each other, you are murderers, and we know that murderers do not have eternal life. 16We know what love is because Jesus gave his life for us. That's why we must give our lives for each other. 17If we have all we need and see one of our own people in need, we must have pity on that person, or else we cannot say we love God. 18Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it. 19When we love others, we know that we belong to the truth, and we feel at ease in the presence of God. 20But even if we don't feel at ease, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything. 21Dear friends, if we feel at ease in the presence of God, we will have the courage to come near him. 22He will give us whatever we ask, because we obey him and do what pleases him. 23God wants us to have faith in his Son Jesus Christ and to love each other. This is also what Jesus taught us to do. 24If we obey God's commandments, we will stay united in our hearts with him, and he will stay united with us. The Spirit that he has given us is proof that we are one with him. God is love
1Listen, nation of Israel, to my mournful message: 2you, dearest Israel, have fallen, never to rise again you lie deserted in your own land, with no one to help you up. 3The Lord God has warned, From every ten soldiers only one will be left; from a thousand troops, only a hundred will survive. 4The Lord keeps saying, Israel, turn back to me and you will live! 5Don't go to Gilgal or Bethel or even to Beersheba. Gilgal will be dragged away, and Bethel will end up as nothing. 6Turn back to the Lord , you descendants of Joseph, and you will live. If you don't, the Lord will attack like fire. Bethel will burn to the ground, and no one can save it. 7You people are doomed! You twist the truth and trample on justice. 8But the Lord created the stars and put them in place. He turns darkness to dawn and daylight to darkness; he scoops up the ocean and empties it on the earth. 9God destroys mighty soldiers and strong fortresses. Choose good instead of evil! The Lord said: 10You people hate judges and honest witnesses; 11you abuse the poor and demand heavy taxes from them. You have built expensive homes, but you won't enjoy them; you have planted vineyards, but you will get no wine. 12I am the Lord , and I know your terrible sins. You cheat honest people and take bribes; you rob the poor of justice. 13Times are so evil that anyone with good sense will keep quiet. 14If you really want to live, you must stop doing wrong and start doing right. I, the Lord God All-Powerful, will then be on your side, just as you claim I am. 15Choose good instead of evil! See that justice is done. Perhaps I, the Lord All-Powerful, will be kind to what's left of your people. Judgment is coming 16This is what the Lord has sworn: Noisy crying will be heard in every town and street. Even farmers will be told to mourn for the dead, together with those who are paid to mourn. 17Your vineyards will be filled with crying and weeping, because I will punish you. I, the Lord , have spoken! When the Lord judges 18You look forward to the day when the Lord comes to judge. But you are in for trouble! It won't be a time of sunshine; all will be darkness. 19You will run from a lion, only to meet a bear. You will escape to your house, rest your hand on the wall, and be bitten by a snake. 20The day when the Lord judges will be dark, very dark, without a ray of light. What the Lord demands 21I, the Lord , hate and despise your religious celebrations and your times of worship. 22I won't accept your offerings or animal sacrifices not even your very best. 23No more of your noisy songs! I won't listen when you play your harps. 24But let justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry. 25Israel, for forty years you wandered in the desert, without bringing offerings or sacrifices to me. 26Now you will have to carry the two idols you made Sakkuth, the one you call king, and Kaiwan, the one you built in the shape of a star. 27I will force you to march as captives beyond Damascus. I, the Lord God All-Powerful, have spoken! Israel will be punished
1I, the Lord All-Powerful, have something else to say to you priests. 2You had better take seriously the need to honour my name. Otherwise, when you give a blessing, I will turn it into a curse. In fact, I have already done this, because you haven't taken to heart your duties as priests. 3I will punish your descendants and rub your faces in the manure from your animal sacrifices, and then be done with you. 4I am telling you this, so I can continue to keep my agreement with your ancestor Levi. 5I blessed him with a full life, as I had promised, and he kept his part of the agreement by honouring me and respecting my name. 6He taught the truth and never told lies, and he led a lot of people to turn from sin, because he obeyed me and lived right. 7You priests should be eager to spread knowledge, and everyone should come to you for instruction, because you speak for me, the Lord All-Powerful. 8But you have turned your backs on me. Your teachings have led others to do sinful things, and you have broken the agreement I made with your ancestor Levi. 9So I caused everyone to hate and despise you, because you disobeyed me and failed to treat all people alike. 10Don't you know that we all have God as our Father? Didn't the one God create each of us? Then why do you cheat each other by breaking the agreement God made with your ancestors? 11You people in Judah and Jerusalem have been unfaithful to the Lord . You have disgraced the temple that he loves, and you have committed the disgusting sin of worshipping other gods. 12I pray that the Lord will no longer let those who are guilty belong to his people, even if they eagerly decide to offer the Lord a gift. 13And what else are you doing? You cry noisily and flood the Lord 's altar with your tears, because he isn't pleased with your offerings and refuses to accept them. 14And why isn't God pleased? It's because he knows that each of you men has been unfaithful to the wife you married when you were young. You promised that she would be your partner, but now you have broken that promise. 15Didn't God create you to become like one person with your wife? And why did he do this? It was so you would have children, and then lead them to become God's people. Don't ever be unfaithful to your wife. 16The Lord God All-Powerful of Israel hates anyone who is cruel enough to divorce his wife. So take care never to be unfaithful! 17You have worn out the Lord with your words. And yet, you ask, How did we do that? You did it by saying, The Lord is pleased with evil and doesn't care about justice. The promised messenger