He is the super football hero poster boy for adulating young boys and fawning middle-aged women. He’s a lightning rod of criticism for the skeptical media and scorning masses. He’s a flamboyant winner who wears his faith and emotions on his sleeve.
Tim Tebow is actually not the primary subject of this post (I know the title is
a bit subversive.) We are. More specifically, “we” as in: The Christians who may put Tebow-like characters on a lofty pedestal OR on unwarranted blast are the ones who need to heed our “Christian witness”.
You could replace “Tebow” with “Bieber” or “Newton” and it could have the same effect.
The way we could be potentially bad “Christian Witnesses” would be by publicly mishandling very public Christian personas such as Tebow. There are two ditches we can fall into, both equally treacherous.
Tebow is a hypocrite
Read any article on a major internet news source that sheds a slightly positive light on Tebow’s faith and core values. Then scroll down to the comments sections and witness the vitriol spewed in Christianity’s direction on account of Tebow’s public persona. An all-around nice guy and solid role model is painted as a fanatically religious loon with ulterior motives.
The last thing a Christian should do is to jump into that fray (personally guilty on that account). The world of moral relativism has enough reason to hate the absolute truth claims Tebow utters in nearly every interview like “Jesus is Lord…” Most Christians who would beseech Tebow to tone it down take issue with his methodology. When he talks, or bows, or points to the heavens after a big play all of it can seem a bit showy.
But just because these displays are not the way we would do it does not make them inherently bad. Trust me, as a Florida State fan I spent four years searching for legitimate reasons for personally disliking the Heisman and National Championship winner. Other than him being a proud Gator and 4-0 against my beloved team, I couldn’t find any juicy material that stuck.
There is a list a mile long of drug addicts, sex objects, and women abusers who are propped up as legitimate role models in our culture.
Tim Tebow may be many things, but a fraud doesn’t appear to be one of them. What he is, in my opinion, he is sincerely. Herculean sports achievements and earnest Christian boldness may be joined together without contradiction.
There is no reason to hate on this phenomenon, Christian, just enjoy while it lasts. If the world will know Christians by how they “love one another”, then a good witness would be to love Tebow by praying for his perseverance in the faith, strength to withstand temptations before him, and even deeper grace to walk out the good confession he’s made.
Tebow is a god
This position takes the previous argument, kicks it to the curb, and runs wildly a million miles in the opposite direction.
I can’t prove this, but I have a sneaking suspicion. Let’s say tomorrow, *God forbid* Tebow was indicted on a seedy scandal of epic proportions that involved illegal drugs and illicit sex. I’m afraid the faith of many within contemporary Christendom would be almost irreparably shaken. I fear Tebow is the last vestige of purity and passion in sports and religion for too many. That’s a shame. Because that is way too much pressure for a young man to bear all alone. We have an unhealthy tendency to put legitimately good people on pedestals they never were created for. This is to their demise.
Look, I know Tebow can get Chick Fil A on Sundays. I know he has been a heart donor….twice. I know when Alexander Bell invented the telephone he had three missed calls from Tim Tebow.
But seriously, doesn’t our hyperbole speak volumes about what we really want to be true?
If you are a Tebow apologist/admirer here is a revelation you may or may not be able to process: Tim Tebow has morning breath. He puts on his Chuck Norris pajamas one leg at a time like the rest of us. He may even have serious bouts with pride and insecurities. And he certainly wouldn’t want to be considered as a substitute to the Savior he so boldly claims.
The minute any man is elevated to mythical status prepare to be thoroughly disappointed. As I’ve heard one saint say from the pulpit, “There aren’t any great men of God…only a great God Who has lavished His great grace on great sinners.”
An effective Christian witness doesn’t merely point men to other men.
There is a way we may talk about Christian leaders that neglects the grace of God in their lives and exalts rather some hidden virtue of character within them. But what does any man have that he did not receive?
If we are not careful our objects of worship will begin to look more like handsome young ripped carefully promoted studs instead of a weak abandoned terrifying bloody mess of Lamb on the cross. That would be a tragedy of eternal consequence.
So, thank God for Tim Tebow. But thank God even more for His Son who died on a cross so filthy sinners like us (you, me and Tebow) could be forgiven and free forevermore in His presence.
Let’s pray that would be the all consuming vision Tebow detractors and supporters would get from his life and message.