Israel Folau has spoken publicly for the first time since Rugby Australia announced their intention to terminate his contract, saying he has “absolutely not” reconsidered his controversial Instagram post.
“I’ll stand on what the Bible says. I share it with love. I can see the other side of the coin where people’s reactions are the total opposite to how I’m sharing it,” Folau was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.
“But in Ezekiel, chapter 33, verse 11, it says that ‘God has no pleasure in the person that’s living in sin’… He’s a loving God and he wants people to turn away from what they’re living in and he’ll give them life.
“That’s the message that I’m trying to share, even though it comes across as harsh. I can’t change what the word of God says.”
Despite reports that he will fight the decision to terminate his contract, jointly made by Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby, Folau said he’s yet to make a decision on how he will respond.
“It’s obviously a decision that’s in the process right now but I believe in a God that’s in control of all things.
“Whatever His will is, whether that’s to continue playing or not, I’m more than happy to do what He wants me to do.”
Folau said that he would not regret it if his actions brought his career to an early end.
“First and foremost, I live for God now. Whatever He wants me to do, I believe His plans for me are better than whatever I can think. If that’s not to continue on playing, so be it.
“In saying that, obviously I love playing footy and if it goes down that path I’ll definitely miss it. But my faith in Jesus Christ is what comes first.”
Ask whether he feels persecuted by the response, Folau said he hadn’t been surprised by it.
“Obviously it’s a tough time but for me I find comfort in obviously what the Bible says,” Folau said. “As we heard today, those that live for Christ will be persecuted for his name. So for me, [the reaction] wasn’t a surprise.
“I have love towards everyone that might be saying negative things… I choose to love them because God loves me.”