You've crossed the line!

“There’s a line… and St Kilda crossed it in that situation.”Maybe you heard about the big incident on the football field last weekend where Mark Murphy – a key player for the Carlton Football Club – was targeted by St Kilda with very personal hurtful sledges about his wife and his family. As you can imagine, this event didn’t go down well with anyone. Media identities, fans and the AFL quickly made statements condemning the behaviour.

Past greats of the game along with the AFL Player’s Association called for the introduction of a Code of Conduct so that players would know the boundaries when it comes to sledging the opposition. “There’s a line when it comes to sledging and St Kilda crossed it” they argued. The particular St Kilda players along with their coach called Mark Murphy to personally apologise for crossing the line with their conduct on the field.Now I personally don’t think that there is any place for sledging in sport… but I can see how a code of conduct could be useful in ensuring that AFL players are clear on what is and what is not appropriate conduct on or off the football field.Sometimes we too (just like AFL footballers!) need to know where the ‘line’ is, don't we? We are fortunate to have the Bible and Jesus’ example to show us healthy boundaries for living life well and not ‘crossing the line’ into sin.I’ve been reading a great book by John Dickson called A Doubter's Guide to the Bible, and I was reading a chapter about Moses and the Law when I came across this reflection on the 10 Commandments:“The Old Testament constantly describes its laws as “life”, “joy”, “blessing” and true “freedom.” This will puzzle a modern reader, who is used to thinking of freedom as the power to choose any course of action. Surely “thou-shalt-not,” a phrase repeated endlessly in the Ten Commandments, is the epitome of restriction and authoritarianism. Well, no… of course the Ten Commandments are stated negatively – for the simple reason that only a few things really are forbidden and pretty much everything else is there to be enjoyed.”Have you ever thought of the 10 Commandments as being commandments that actually bring us life, joy, blessing and true freedom? Have you ever considered that knowing where ‘the line is’ in terms of right conduct, actually helps us to be in a place of freedom? Praise God that we have His Word to help us not only know where the ‘line’ is, but also to give us instruction, wisdom and encouragement to not cross it!


Ps Joel Hawting

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