Out of Bounds

  • Pete Johnson
Chalk line on grass field

As a former official, athletic director, and coach, I have come to know a lot about “out of bound lines”. Boundary lines in a sport are necessary not to only play the game but manage it as well. Even though some sports use the “out of bounds” lines differently to manage the sport, they all have them. In volleyball and soccer, for example, the ball can touch the “out of bounds’’ line and still be in play. In baseball, a batted ball that goes past the foul line before third base is foul, however, it that batted ball goes past third base then crosses the foul line it is a fair ball. In basketball and football if the ball or the player’s foot touches the out of bounds line the play is over.

These lines help the players know in what area the game can be played. Just think if there were no “out of bounds” in sports, that would be chaos, and exhausting. In a football game that would mean the players could run up into the stands, or run outside of the stadium, run into the street even to avoid being tackled. It would also be impossible to manage the game; how would officials be able to keep up with where players were going, what they are doing, or get to where they would be going?

Without the “out of bounds” rule there is no standard, no consistency, and no enjoyment in playing the game. Every football game you watch has the same “out of bounds” rule, that’s the standard. Every team’s training and preparation for the game requires the standard to be acknowledged and accepted as the standard, no exceptions.

If you take a look around, you can easily see that this world is way “out of bounds”. Mankind has decided to remove the boundaries outlined in God’s Word and it shows. Without that standard, men, and women, boys and girls “play the game” without any “out of bounds” lines, thus chaos abounds.

When mankind does away with God’s Word the answer to the question of what is right and what is wrong is determined by each person, just like in the days of the Judges in Israel’s history.

“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)

Christian, what rules are you playing by?

What “out of bounds” line have you already crossed only to justify your new rules because the culture uses them?

God’s Word must be the standard for the Christian, no matter what the world’s rules, or lack of, have become.

“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:7-8)