“Be a good sport!” … How many times did I heart that phrase growing up? And I didn’t even play competitive sports! Yet, good sportsmanship is a quality that many parents and teachers want to cultivate in kids. Sportsmanship is more than being a “good sport” on the football field or gymnastics arena – it’s having a good attitude and remember to love God and love our neighbors, no matter what we’re doing (sports or other activities).
The Bible is full of stories about people having a great attitude and glorifying God. Read below for 3 Bible stories about sportsmanship.
3 Bible Stories That Teach Your Kids About Sportsmanship
Joseph had every reason to have a bad attitude! His brothers sold him into slavery, he was tricked and treated poorly by his owner’s wife, and he ended up in prison in Egypt. And yet, Joseph showed nothing but good sportsmanship and a great attitude throughout his entire life! In fact, when his brothers came to Egypt to look for food (and Joseph was second in command over all of Egypt!) he welcomed them with open arms and gave them the best of everything. Throughout the challenges in Joseph’s life, he always gave glory to God and treated other people well.
Talk to your kids about times they have faced adversity, in sports or at school or with friends. Ask them how Joseph responded, and how that helps them think through the the ways they can show good sportsmanship and a good attitude.
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This passage from the book of Hebrews is one of the most famous in the Bible, and it is perfect for talking with your kids about good sportsmanship! Ask your kids what they think it means to “run with endurance the race that is set before us”?
The author of Hebrews is asking believers to keep their focus on following Jesus, who will always be there to help us. Even when we are tired, or we have obstacles, Hebrews is telling us to keep a good attitude and run alongside Jesus.
Ephesians 4:1-16 is a famous passage on the body of Christ (the church) and it has many good principles for sportsmanship embedded in its text. Start by reading the passage out loud and asking your kids where they see the attitude of good sportsmanship reflected. You’ll find it at the beginning where Paul urges the people to have humility, gentleness, patience, and unity. All of these are qualities of good sportsmanship!
However, the passage is also about the goal of good sportsmanship – building other people up, working together, and doing everything for the glory of God. Ask your kids to point out parts of the passage that encourage these things.