Hey, my fellow Christians, we need to have an in-house discussion. Listen, we have got to stop mocking and scolding people for publicly praising God. I’ve noticed this a lot recently, especially in the last couple of years. Sure, we claim that God ought to be thanked every day. We may even quote a line from Scripture and say “give thanks IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.
But then an athlete like Ray Lewis or, last year, Tim Tebow thanks God after winning a game, or an actor thanks Him at the Oscars, or a musician at the Grammys, or anyone whom we have judged unworthy praises Him for an achievement we find meaningless, and we flock to the internet and take our place among the secular masses complaining that these people are “insincere” and they should “tone it down” because it’s “offensive” and “inappropriate”. I heard one person, a Christian, use the word “disgusting” when describing one of the previous cases. Really? You’re “disgusted” by someone praising God? Are you freaking possessed, man?
What is wrong with us? Since when should ANYONE “tone down” their worship? Since when is it EVER offensive to thank God? Since when can we, sinners and fools that we are, look at another man’s deeds and judge him unworthy to speak God’s name? And since when are we in the position to proclaim who is and isn’t sincere in their expressions of faith?
The Scribes and the Pharisees assumed this very same position and, famously, Jesus was not especially fond of them because of this.
I’ve even heard Christians say that it’s ridiculous to thank God for winning a football game because God doesn’t “have time” to worry about a stupid sporting event. “Have time”? Well, in one sense you are correct. God does not have time. He is outside of time. He has eternity. He is eternity. You are attempting to make Him finite but, in fact, he is infinite. He is omnipresent. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be God. So if you claim He “doesn’t have time” to worry about something as a dumb as a game, you are either venting out of ignorance with misplaced frustration, or you are blaspheming. Take your pick.
Another point: God is All Powerful therefore nothing happens outside of His Perfect Will. So yes, Mr. Athlete, it WAS God’s will that you win that game. I’d like any Christian to explain how it was not. I’d like to hear them justify their assertion that an event, however small, took place outside of the grasp of the Lord Himself. Tread lightly; you’re on very rocky ground theologically.
Maybe many of these people are just putting on a show with a bunch of fraudulent religiosity. Maybe they go home and sacrifice a goat on their Satanic alters. I don’t know. Neither do you. But to call a man’s faith “fake” is wrong. Very wrong. And it is not motivated by anything righteous or true. Also, it’s not as though public piety is rewarded nowadays so the motivation to “fake it” is, I would think, diminished. And besides, would we rather they thank themselves and glorify themselves? To glorify God is to humble yourself. I don’t care if I judge a guy to be the biggest crook in the world, he still ought to thank God every time he wins at checkers.
One other point: you may roll your eyes when a professional football player “goes on and on” about God. But did you ever think that POSSIBLY there are kids, boys in the inner city in particular, who don’t have any male role models and who have no idea what masculinity looks like. Did you ever consider that they are not viewing this guy’s worship through your cynical lens? They see a man they consider tough and admirable (rightly or wrongly) unapologetically speaking His Name. Now they carry with them the impression that faith and manliness can go hand in hand.
I think that’s a victory. That’s a huge victory. That’s a win for the Good Side. So why are you complaining about it?
Absolutely brilliant piece of writing. In, fact, praise God for giving you the ability to communicate that.
I suspect people are offended by these public expressions of faith and thanksgiving because at some level, Tebow and others like him make them feel ashamed. Christians “going on and on” about what the Lord has done is like nails on a chalkboard to people who’ve chosen to live their lives in pursuit of self-pleasure (and self-deception) instead of pursuit of a life that’s pleasing to the Lord.
Jesus laid it out for us when He explained that you’re either a child of God, or a child of the world. (I won’t go into who the children of the world are *actually* working for; you already know that part.) Suffice to say, people who are neutral or outright hostile to God, faith, and praise rather bristle at these expressions because since they’ve chosen to turn their backs on their Creator, they cannot understand why everyone else hasn’t done the same.
For my part, I can’t understand why anyone wants to live a life of cynical, smug, self-satisfied atheism that mostly exists to cast aspersions on the character of believers.
Once again, great column Matt.
No, people are offended (correct that, I’ll just say I so not to speak for other people) because religions (not sinling out one) have caused men to engage in wars, take subjective decisions and other believers to take a passive approach to life (“it’s in God’s hands now!” irks me). As for Tebow and other public figures with open beliefs, the way they carry the message that god chose them over others; I know christians/catholics who don’t like to see/hear that. I don’t believe in a higher power, but still give to charity, teach my son how to be a good person and respect people around him and am faithful to my 11 year girlfriend; yes we’re not married and have a kid, strike me down now! I can get behind the free speech stuff, but the hypocrisy of some believers get me; as if christians don’t masturbate… ha!
You are expressing your beliefs so why get bent out of shape when Christians express theirs. Everyone should be able to believe whatever they want. That is what this country stands for. The definition of sin is not reaching the mark of perfection. Everyone sins at some time but they can be forgiven because of Jesus Christ. Because of his faith in God he was rewarded by being on a winning team. For that he was grateful. Your sarcastic attitude irks me.
Your tongue is the key to your heart. If the Christian God does not exist, then the true Christians at heart will die and go into the ground turning to dust after living a life of giving to charity, teaching their sons how to be good people and respect people around them. Then it will simply be over. HOWEVER, if the Christian God is truly the higher power over this creation we call earth and our human inhabitants, then those true Christians at heart will live that same life and THEIR BODIES WILL DIE….BUT THE SOUL WILL LIVE IN ETERNITY WITH THEIR GOD. What does this mean for you? You too will have an eternal life……of suffering. I don’t mean to be a critic of your life and do not wish to come across that way. I just don’t understand why you speak out against others simply because they spoke of their belief or faith in a God. You show your maturity with the closing statements in your post. Yes some Christians do masterbate, Christians are weak minded also and do give in to the world’s pleasures sometimes. However they have a loving and forgiving Savior to take the sin on His shoulders on the day of judgement. ( the Christian’s day of judgement ) I choose to allow you to think and say what you want and will offer prayer to my God that He may reveal himself to you. AMEN.
Yay!!! Totally agree with both of you.