We just completed a week of public events where a number of individuals in the publicly chose to mention and or speak of their faith in God. The social media world lit up all day Sunday and Monday over these “shout outs for Jesus” – in several texts, tweets, emails and blogs people voiced concern over those who spoke of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many casting judgment as to weather these individuals were really Christians or not. Surprisingly, several of these individuals casting judgment profess to be Christians themselves.
San Francisco quarterback Colin Kapernick tweeted scriptures all week and mentioned God in his interviews. Adrian Peterson, in his acceptance speech at the Saturday night NFL Awards, thanked God for allowing him to win the MVP award and come back from his ACL injury. And away from the Super Bowl scene; at the NAACP Image Awards, an event that honors people of color in TV since the other award shows minimize participation of people of color, Loretta Devine greeted the audience with a – “Praise the Lord everybody” greeting. Which received it’s own criticism. And of course Ray Lewis’ “no weapon formed against me shall prosper” quote before, during and after the Super Bowl. Lewis also explained, in response to Jim Nance question on how the Ravens were able to overcome such odds and obstacles, in the post game interview answered – “if God be for you, who can be against you”. (Both of those quotes are used frequently by those of the faith) Yes, that’s a slippery theological slope. In other words, if God is for us, that doesn’t mean there’s an equal and opposite person that God is against. I’m sure there were others over the weekend but these are sufficient for our discussion as we refill our take here at the corner of Praise & Judgment.
The Bible tells us in Matthew 7:1- 6 to first remove the plank from our own eyes before we attempt to remove the speck from someone else’s. If we were “back in the day”, would we have treated Paul the same way as he preached the Word of God after his conversion? Paul, who was the mass murder of Christians who later called himself the “ chief sinner”. Would we have judged David for all his transgressions in the midst of being such a great warrior and king? The Bible says David was a man after God’s own heart. Would we have asked Ester, whom do you think you are speaking up; you only came into relationship with the king as a result of someone else’s misfortune. We never know what God is working out in the lives of an individual.
I am not defending any of the celebrities. Their incredible skills and success could be a part of God’s common grace. And they may or may not have received His saving grace. As the body of Christ, instead of judging we should be praying for those going through the process of sanctification. That God will encourage and strengthen them in this journey. That as public figures, that their lifestyles will show the fruits of their conversion. And they will overcome any of their struggles.
We don’t know if these guys are real; but it is not for us to judge or decide. We are not the moral police and we need to treat people like Jesus treated people. We must remember, scripture also tell us that none is perfect but the Father. We ourselves are striving to live a life that is pleasing to God and we too make mistakes. Our own personal accountability is not reduced because ours sins are not in the public eye. Sin is sin and God views our transgressions the same as He does those of others. Weather ours sins are of the flesh or sins of the spirit (judging, hating, envy, etc), God sees them all.
As leaders, we must model the lifestyle we want our young people to live. In this multimedia world where everything is seen by all, our young people should see us loving one another and praying for those who we see struggling with their faith. Demonstrating the fruits of the spirit we are teaching them – genuine love for His people, heartfelt obedience to His commands and Christlike character traits. These can only come about by the Spirit of God working within our life. Our young people HEAR what we do more than what we say.
Let me hear from you. What are you thoughts on this subject? Give me a shout out, your opinion is important to me.