It’s truly astonishing how crazy this past week has been concerning the Super Bowl. The numerous stories, in-depth analysis (what’s the plural form of “analysis”…analysi?), and the constant discussions/predictions about the game seemed to be “in your face” everywhere you looked.
I’m certainly not complaining–I love the Super Bowl. In fact, it’s because of people like me (sports-crazed maniacs) that the Super Bowl gets as much coverage as it does. I enjoy watching all the different stories, news, and “hype” about the event, and I’m glad the game lived up to expectations by being the thriller that it was.
Of all the stories I read and heard throughout the week, however, there was one that especially caught my attention. It was a Sports Illustrated article about how former NFL wide receiver Amani Toomer disapproved of Ray Lewis’ behavior leading up to the Super Bowl.
In the article, Toomer describes how he believes Lewis is selfishly making his team’s Super Bowl run all about himself and even calls Lewis a hypocrite for touting his religious beliefs on national television.
Now, I’m not here to argue that Amani Toomer is necessarily wrong in some of the assertions he makes. Maybe Lewis is being selfish in drawing all of this attention to himself during these playoffs and maybe he is being a little too forthcoming in some of his religious comments (especially when he says that God is for him and his team–implying He is not necessarily for other players/teams).
What I do take issue with is when Toomer says the following:
“If you (Ray Lewis) want to say you’re Mr. Religious and all of that, have a clean record. Don’t say all of that stuff if you know there’s stuff that might come back. Those are the things that, when I look at him, I just think hypocrisy.”
Toomer is not alone when he makes comments like this. Lots of people have this misconception that to be a Christian you have to have a “clean record.”
This couldn’t be further from the truth! Christianity has nothing to do with how good or bad your past is. In fact, Jesus calls us to acknowledge our sinful past and admit we’re not good enough!
“None is righteous. No, not one.”–Romans 3:10
Some people this past week have looked at Ray Lewis’ past and have said, “But he did this and he did that.” And I’m not here to say he did or didn’t do those things. The fact of the matter is I don’t know. What I do know is that Ray Lewis is a sinner. He has a past full of sin and doesn’t deserve a relationship with God.
But guess what? I’m also a sinner. I have a past full of sin and don’t deserve a relationship with God. The Bible makes it clear that no one has a “clean record” (as Toomer would say) and no one is worthy of His love.
“Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.”–Ecclesiastes 7: 20
Thankfully, Jesus came down to pay for all people’s sins so that we could be worthy in God’s eyes and receive His undeserving love.
“For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son so whomsoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”–John 3: 16
There was plenty of information you could have obtained this past week in all the Super Bowl hysteria. But please don’t buy-in to the misconception that you have to have a clean record to come to Christ.
God knows your record isn’t clean. He knows you’ve messed up and aren’t worthy of Him. Thankfully, He comes to you anyway and offers His Son as a ransom for your life. All you have to do is accept His gift.
Forget your past. Look to the future. God is calling.