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Israel Folau says he ‘forgives’ people for not agreeing with his beliefs

The Australian rugby player hit headlines after making a homophobic comment on Instagram

By Steve Brown

Israel Folau ‘forgives’ people for not believing in the same belief as he does.

The highest paid Australian rugby player hit headlines this year after writing on Instagram that all gay people will go to Hell unless they repent their sins to God.

Since making the comments, the devout Christian has defended what he said and in an interview with Sydney Morning Herald, Folau said the challenges off-field moulded him into the person he is today.

He said: “It’s a bit of a roller-coaster year, for me, more so off the field with what’s been happening but, to be quite honest, it might sound a bit crazy, but I kind of really enjoyed what was happening off the field.

“Not that it happened on purpose, but my identity is based around my faith in God.

“And I truly believe that from deep down inside, what was happening off the field, even though it was challenging and it was hard, it was actually moulding me into the person [I am] … and taught me a lot of things that I needed to learn, and I’m still learning now.

“Obviously a lot of people will say negative things about what was happening, but it taught me to actually love and forgive them for obviously not agreeing and that’s something that I’ve learnt to take on.”

Folau also went on to say that he nearly quit rugby because of the comments he made.

“I base everything around my faith and belief in God – I tend to go wherever he wants me to go,” he continued.

“At some stage I didn’t think I was going to be in the game, but those thoughts always chop and change and in the end you have that peace and comfort inside that brought me to a stage where I feel comfortable in wanting to move forward.

“Going onto the footy field probably a lot of people would probably say that it [the controversy] would effect my rugby, but I’ve never felt so much peace going onto the field because I know that [his belief] is something that is truly myself and I’ll never back away from that or step away from that regardless of who it is.

“That’s something that I’ll carry for the rest of my life. I totally understand everyone else’s view. They are obviously different to mine and I respect that. It doesn’t change how I look at that person.

“What I don’t want to do is compromise what I believe in and being true to my faith in God.

“I’m always going to follow that, even though probably a lot of people won’t agree with that. That’s fine, I’ll still respect them and love everyone else for who they are.”