Posted by George Morrison

There seems to be no end to the story of Thierry Henry’s foul deed on the playing fields of Paris. He was caught, red handed so to speak, by the ever watchful TV cameraman. The referee was unsighted and the linesmen were no help to him. The goal that put us out of the world cup was allowed and the injustice fixed indelibly in the Irish psyche. Henry is a professional and knew what he had done. After a brief celebration he told the referee that he had handled the ball, a kind of confessional statement which helped his conscience but not the result. The referee’s reaction, assisted by the jubilation of the home crowd, was to tell Henry that his job was to referee and Thierry’s was to play football. A somewhat ironic reply as the referee had just learned that Thierry had been playing handball! In some respects a Church leader is like a referee. He has to know the rules in the Bible and how to interpret them. He will try to get into the best position to make a decision, taking advice from his colleagues if they are in a better position. One thing he must not do is to pay attention to the crowd. They are biased in their support and passionate with their advice. This is evidenced by the fact that for a substantial portion of the crowd the referee is always wrong! St Paul gave Church leaders an abbreviated job description when he wrote to the church at Colosse, using his ministry as an illustration, “Christ we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” Colossians chapter 1 verse 28. Sadly fouls do happen in church life. Some are premeditated others happen on impulse. God has equipped his leaders with yellow and red cards to be used in love with the ultimate restoration of the offender in view. May the living God guide us all as we try to follow his injunction….”speaking the truth in love we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ”. Ephesians Chapter 4 verse 15.