Getting Mad at Sinful NFL Players Will Not Help Your Spiritual Growth

There is much commotion in the NFL right now. Ray Rice beat his wife unconscious, yet didn’t get dealt with by the league until there was video footage.

Adrian Peterson whipped his kids with a stick and has been reinstated by the Vikings to play Sunday.

I find all the moralistic blathering a tad too much, coming from our society.

I don’t like jumping on bandwagons about individual’s moral failures. I’ve dealt with too many hurting sinners to know the pain of real moral failing.

I also know my poor track record at distinguishing guilt or innocence in cases where I do not have full information. Ramped up moralistic vitriol sounds too Pharisaic for me.

That’s fine if others join in, because here I am judging people for being too moralistic! Rather Pharisaical myself.

But, seriously, in trying to avoid all moralistic high-horses and not be a Pharisee, we really need to tone down our judgments of other people’s sins. We do. Especially if you have sin of your own.

Major League Baseball gives out the Roberto Clemente Award every year for the player who most exemplifies baseball and helps his community. Roberto Clemente was indeed a fine human being, a great athlete, and a humanitarian. The annual award is to point out someone like him.

The Milwaukee Brewers nominated their suspended for all season last year player, Ryan Braun.

I find this hilarious. I don’t know if they did it as a joke, but man, that is funny. Braun took steroids. He lied about it. He was OK with continuing to lie while people in the process were fired and castigated. Finally, when they had him nailed, he admitted to it all.

Now he is nominated for a humanitarian award for the player who “most exemplifies baseball.” Braun, indeed, seems to exemplify modern professional sports.

But since when were our professional athletes lily white beacons of righteousness? Can’t quite recall that time. Sure, there have always been nice, upstanding individuals in sports, but for the most part, these are not role model material.

“Sports develop character” is the old cliche that rings more and more hollow as we move along.

The NFL is thinking of adding more women to the decision making processes of the league to curb the moral failings of its players. As we all know, women are bastions of morality themselves.

Seriously, sin is a big problem. It’s a big problem in any profession, including clergy. The more we find guilty people to jump on, the more justification we give ourselves for our sin.

Examine yourself. Deal with sinners-you-know in a biblical manner–usually begins with dealing with your own sin. Whether I watch the NFL or not, makes no difference to Adrian Peterson or Ray Rice. Whether I spew anger and vengeance at them will matter nothing to them either.

But judging them might do its part to self-righteously bemuse my way to my own failure. Showing anger at other people’s sin is never listed as a Christian virtue. Biblically, it’s typically a sign that your own fall is coming.

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