There has been a lot made about the small ribbing Aaron Rodgers gave Russell Wilson in his postgame interview after the Packers defeated the Seahawks. Rodgers was referring back to the comments made by Wilson during last season's playoffs where Wilson gave credit to God for the playoff win over the Packers. This time, Rodgers with a sheepish grin basically said that God must have been a bigger Packers fan during the latest game. Now, I like both Rodgers and Wilson. My understanding is that both would consider themselves Christians. They just have a different view of how God views football and sports in general.
It opens up an interesting discussion. Does God care enough about the outcome of football games to change the outcomes? Well, it's not football He cares about but the people who play it and the fans who cheer for teams He cares about. Personally, I think He could and has at times intervened in sporting events. I don't always know how or why but think it's not out of His nature to do so. Does He always control them? No. Players still have free will. If He were to intervene, it wouldn't really be about the outcome anyway. It would be about a bigger plan, a bigger picture. We tend to only see the game. Rarely do we actually see or understand the bigger picture.
That brings me to my next thought on God and sports that really hit me over this past week. It's the "giving glory to God" issue that comes up every now and then. Some people love it and for some people, they really hate it when they see or hear that. If you're not a Christian, I get it. It would be pretty annoying hearing that all the time when watching games. But as a Christian, we should love it, right? Christian athletes should always be giving glory to God when they get the chance, right?
Well, I was watching a game the other night that really made me question that to an extent. I won't name teams or which game I was watching. As I was watching it, I couldn't help but notice how dirty one of the teams was playing. Kicking players, tripping players, late hits after the play was dead...it was shocking to see that behavior out of adults. Sometimes, it was called. Sometimes, it wasn't. Granted, when you have a team of 53 guys, there are bound to be some bad apples. Every team has had some dirty play at times. In this game, it was glaring. It was blatant. And it continued throughout the game.
After the game, I got on Facebook to see lots of photos from the game. There were pictures of players from the dirty team giving glory to God for the win. There were pictures of players from both teams praying together after the game. Honestly, it all made me want to throw up. I thought, those dirty players better be asking for forgiveness in that prayer circle. I give a lot of credit to the players of the team that didn't play dirty because my flesh certainly would have wanted to walk straight to the locker room after that game. No way would my flesh have wanted to pray with another team after they had played that dirty. But nonetheless, they swallowed their pride and prayed with the players from the other team. Much respect for that.
When I saw players from the dirty team give glory to God for the win, I thought, "Are you serious?" Your team's actions certainly weren't glorifying to God. Do you think God smiles upon that? Do you really think that blesses Him or glorifies Him? Just because you glorify God with your lips does not mean you glorify Him with your actions. Some athletes tend to think they can do anything they want in a game as long as they glorify God in the end with their words. That's appalling, right? If it's not, maybe it should be. At the very least, it's very sad.
But the truth is, most of us live our lives the same way. We glorify God with our lips when our actions don't back it up. We think we have the freedom to do anything we want as long as we give God the glory with our words in the end. Not only does God see it but also the people around us, both Christian and non-Christian, see it. As Christians, it makes our faith look pretty ugly to people on the outside. We are hypocrites when we live that way. And sadly, the hypocrite argument is the biggest argument non-Christians use against Christianity.
So in the end, I'm not saying we shouldn't give glory to God. We should if we are doing it for the right reasons and the right things. We must make a better effort to not just glorify God with our lips but also with our actions.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what we do in real life is worth millions more. The fact has always been that our actions speak louder than our words. If we are saying one thing but our actions don't line up, the positive things we say are pretty much worthless.
Going forward, we need to examine ourselves and the things we are a part of. I hope we as Christians can be more careful to have our words and actions for God line up...in sports and in life.