I was saddened this week as I watched Bruce Jenner receive the “Arthur Ashe Award for Courage” at the annual Espy Awards. As you probably know, Jenner, a former Olympic gold-medalist, has decided to live as a woman. What saddened me, even beyond his decision, was the reaction of a room filled with famous athletes. These top athletes and role models all stood and applauded Jenner for his gender change.
While I love sports, and can appreciate the level of expertise unto which these athletes have attained, the response of these athletes has reminded me that we need new heroes. Does being able to throw a ball, hit a ball, shoot a ball, kick a ball, and run with a ball, while being devoid of morals qualify one to be a hero or role model?
Paul stated that not only are those who are guilty of sin worthy of condemnation, but also those who approve of the evil others do; they too are worthy of condemnation (Romans 1:32).
We need a hero! We need to train our children to lift their eyes above the shallowness of picking heroes because they can “play with a ball.” Instead, we need to train them to look to Jesus. Our children need to be so familiar with the life and works of Jesus that they will be in awe of him and come to realize no man is more worthy of “hero” status than him.
- The compassion Jesus demonstrated toward those who were weak and unlovable is more challenging than a Stephen Curry 3-point shot.
- The mercy Jesus showed a dying thief is far more amazing than a Peyton Manning touchdown pass.
- The miracles of Jesus are more deserving of a slow-motion replay than the acrobatic catches of Odell Beckham Jr.
- The manliness and courage Jesus exhibited while being led as a sheep to the slaughter is infinitely more moving and powerful than any injured athlete playing through the pain.
When a man decides to live as a woman and we call him courageous, we’ve defined-down courage. When a man announces he is a practicing homosexual (as did last year’s winner of the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage) and we call him a “hero,” we need new heroes.
I say it’s time we introduce our children to Jesus. What do you think?
[Addendum: Lest someone accuse me of being hateful, homophobic, or insensitive to the plight of others, let me share the following.
- Courage is when someone is enjoying the pleasures of sin but decides to muster the strength to stop.
- Courage is when someone faces temptation, but refuses to give in and wrestles with that temptation.
- Courage is when someone stops defending and excusing sin, and acknowledges God’s holy standards.
- Courage is when one surrenders his own will to follow Jesus.
- Courage is standing for right when it’s politically correct not to do so.
- Courage is confronting someone with his sin, rather than turning a blind eye to him.
- Courage is being a friend of sinners while being supremely loyal to God.
As representatives of Jesus, may we love so deeply that our condemnations of sin cannot be confused with hatred of the sinner].