Proudly South African

Today I heard something that makes me proud . South African Rugby supporters who attended our first match in the Rugby World Cup against Japan, fully expecting their team to win overwhelmingly, behave in a most sportsman like way when their team lost. They congratulated Japanese fans on their win. This makes me more proud to be South African than if our team had won as was generally predicted.

south-african-flagPhoto from thesouthafrican

To put it into perspective, you must know that South Africans are crazy about Rugby. Rugby talk will occupy a lot of the male conversation (and some of the ladies chatter too) – especially around a braai. If our team loses, most red-blooded men go into a temporary depression.  These fans were hurting. Yet they had enough character to behave in a sportsman-like manner.

It makes me realise that the role of the everyday man in the street is just as important in shaping perceptions as that of important people who are always in the limelight.

If a mother visits a school with the view to enroll her son next year and one or two of the current students greet her politely, she gets the impression that this is a good school. If she walks passed a group of students who are so caught up in their own conversation that they don’t even notice her, the impression will be totally opposite. This despite the protestations of the principal or the programmes offered.

If a visitor comes to your church, they may be impressed by the preaching, they may love the worship but if nobody greets them they will perceive the church as unfriendly. However, even if the worship team consists of one guitarist and a local preacher is taking that service that day, if they are made to feel welcome by one or two people, they will see the church as friendly.

This leaves us with a great responsibility as Christians, as employees, as citizens and in every area of service where we seek to make the world a better place. There is always somebody watching. Our actions, however small can make a difference. We have a poster up at school that reads “Integrity is how you behave when nobody is watching.” I would like to suggest that our Heavenly Father is always watching. If we live knowing that, and live to please him, we will have integrity and  we will bring glory to His name.

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