Psalm 25 21May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.
I don’t get to play as frequently as I would like, but I enjoy golfing. I’m not an exceptional golfer, which is pretty evident in my swing, but I can still muster a reasonable round. I have played just enough to appreciate how good the professionals are, and I enjoy watching some of the PGA events on TV.
A few years back I recall watching replays of a PGA event, the Verizon Heritage, and it stood out for me not because of any spectacular golf plays, but instead, some spectacular integrity. Brian Davis, a middle-aged professional golfer from England, was in a playoff with well-known golfer Jim Furyk. Davis had never won a PGA event and now he was potentially a hole away from taking that prize – a lifelong dream.
Davis’ approach shot on the first playoff hole bounced off the green and nestled in some weeds. When Davis tried to punch the ball up onto the green, his club may have grazed a stray weed on his backswing. Those not familiar with golf would wonder why this matters, but a golf rule says that hitting any material around your ball on a backswing constitutes a violation and, in this case, an immediate 2-stroke penalty which realistically would end Davis’ chances. No one seemed to notice, but Davis went and asked if he could watch a TV replay to see if there was movement of the weeds. By viewing a slow-motion replay, he confirmed that there was in fact movement and Davis called a penalty on himself and lost the PGA event.
I don’t know whether Davis is a Christian or not, but I can tell you that the type of honesty and integrity that he showed is the type that we are called to live out every day as believers. In today’s key scripture we see that King David understood this as he wrote: “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.” (Psalm 25:21).
Whatever sport you pursue, you will have the opportunity to bend or perhaps ignore some rules. It is in these moments where you can have the opportunity to stand out in the crowd and show that you follow a God who desires for his children to walk with integrity. Just like for golfer Brian Davis, those decisions may cost you in the short run, but as God promises, integrity and uprightness will protect you.
It is important that your personal relationship with Jesus is solid, and that the Holy Spirit’s voice is loud in your ears as you pursue your sport of choice, and as you conduct yourself in your life in general. Pray that God would allow you to have a conscience that will be tender and that you will be an amazing ambassador of your wonderful saviour.
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” (Proverbs 10:9).