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Grace, Freedom and the NFL

Boy, what a firestorm! The tension and controversy in America has reached a fever pitch over the last few years to where we have arrived at today. Not long ago it was just 49’ers  (ex) quarterback Colin Kaepernick (still doesn’t have a job) who intentionally thrust himself into controversy by refusing to stand for the playing of the National Anthem in protest of what he deemed to be wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States. Well, it’s a free country….and I don’t argue the subject of free speech. But, what we do with that freedom is an entirely different topic that oftentimes reveals the character of those who might use, or misuse it.

You may wonder about the above title and question how grace, freedom and these protests could be connected. I think, in principle, they’re very connected. Let me explain; Grace is an extremely important Biblical subject. It’s a wonderful thing! But it’s also one of the more controversial topics in the church today. It’s controversial mostly because it has been miscommunicated, ….and therefore misunderstood, ….and when all that happens it can easily be misappropriated. (used in an unwise manner)

Paul, in one of his letters, said it this way, “Brothers and sisters you have been called to liberty (freedom), but don’t use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh”. More clearly put, don’t use your freedom as an excuse to sin. It’s only the unwise, or maybe innocently by the immature, who would accept God’s perfect gift of grace and then use it as an excuse to sin. That would be an undeniable, gross misuse of grace! That’s where I see grace, freedom and these NFL protests intersecting.

The freedom that we enjoy in America is like none other in the entire world. It’s a freedom that has come at an extremely costly price. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have given their lives on the battlefield, here and around the world, in the name of freedom. I appreciate that; I’m grateful for it and it’s something that I would never, ever take lightly. So, it only makes sense to me to use that freedom in a wise, mature and conscientious manner. Everybody doesn’t agree….and that’s OK. But my opinion is that those who choose to dishonor the national anthem and the flag, are thus dishonoring the nation and those whose lives were sacrificed for our freedom. It appears to be a very immature, arrogant and unwise use of something so precious….and that cost so many, …..so much.

The NFL has some unbelievable athletes; best in the world for their God-given talent and abilities. But many of these young men have been coddled, babied and catered to since they were old enough to be involved in organized team sports. It’s a historical fact that many of these athletes making millions today won’t have any of it left after their careers are over. And, if the old adage rings true that “we all have 15 minutes of fame”, it’s a crying shame that these boys are using theirs’ this way. They’re influencing another generation of little boys in a very adverse, and negative way. I wouldn’t want that on my resume’!

Someone will probably cry, “racism”; But, c’mon …..give us a break! It’s not that. It’s called patriotism, …..and it’s makin’ a comeback!

“All things are lawful, but not all things edify; all things are lawful, but not all are helpful” – Paul

The way you handle grace….and freedom will tell the world just how deep your character actually is. 

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“Loosen Up, Sandy Baby!”

I don’t know if you’ll remember that particular phrase or not, but I sure do, and it makes me laugh every time I think about it! John Riggins, a great pro football player, said that to Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor at a Presidential Gala back in the ’80’s.

John Riggins was a Kansas University, All-American running back who went on to the NFL’s Washington Redskins where he was named NFL’s MVP in 1983 and later inducted into the National Football League Hall of Fame. He was a great running back and a very colorful character, to say the least! Invited to a big DC party along with a bunch of other ‘big whigs’, John proceeded to drink………a lot! Sitting across from Justice O’Connor and apparently noticing her high-society looks and maybe a remark or two in his direction, John says, “Loosen up, Sandy baby!” It made the national news. John ended up asleep under the table (probably passed out) during the President’s speech.

I like John Riggins even though he might’ve went a little far with his drinking on that particular night. But I think all of us could stand a good-size dose of his advice to Sandy! Life is serious, I mean really serious. And it brings with it all kinds of things to stress about. I’m like you…I can get so caught up in that kind of stuff sometimes that it can really get me down.

Worry is not healthy and it fights directly against our faith. I have to continually remind my own self of that. Statistics say, and looking back it’s been true for me as well, that about 75% of the things we worry about never happen anyway! That just says that we’re wasting a lot of valuable time not fully enjoying life. I’ve been guilty of that, but I’m trying to do better…..and I think I am doing some better at it. As many times as the Lord has rescued me, I should know as good as anyone that He’s got my back! If we’re going to get any real enjoyment out of life we’re going to have to learn to take John’s advice and ‘loosen up’!

Who knew that John Riggins’, “Loosen up, Sandy baby” would be so prophetic?!

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Posted by on February 18, 2015 in Christianity, Spiritual Growth, Truth

 

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