A wise man recently revealed to me that part of his job was to sometimes give people the opportunity to fail. That unique view on his working life really impressed me. Failure is the greatest teaching tool in the world. Failure instantly reveals character for good and bad and is far more telling than any great success.
That thought applies to the recent tweet from droll comedian Bill Maher regarding Tim Tebow. The avowed atheist sent out his thoughts after the Buffalo Bills soundly defeated the Denver Broncos last Saturday.
“Wow, Jesus just f***ed #Tim Tebow bad! And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere…Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler “Hey, Buffalo’s killing them,” Maher tweeted.
The wonderful thing about our freedom of speech is that it allows someone like Maher to fail. Maher typed what came to mind and in so doing revealed that, beyond his atheism, Maher’s profane tweet exposed a man filled with vicious hatred. That alone is very sad. Without freedom of speech and the opportunity to fail, we never really would have known.
Lest you feel this post is purely Christian driven, let me share another story revealed to me a few months after KU won the basketball National Championship in 2008. Two friends, well-known for the their conservative right-wing Christian beliefs, were reveling in the details of the championship game with Laura and me. One revealed that as the game wound down towards the Chalmers miracle shot, she had left the watch party for a private room where she kneeled in prayer asking that “the good guys would win.” Again, without this patent failure in Christian belief, revealed thanks to freedom of speech, we never would have known.
Christian persecution is centuries old. Meanwhile, in the city of Topeka, where we live, a minister and his followers carry on a continued hate-driven campaign against gays filled with enough non-Christian pronouncements to stagger the mind. Some mock Tim Tebow for kneeling in brief prayers on the field while thousands demand a boycott of Maher’s HBO comedy show. The battle lines will be forever drawn in the sands because of our failure.
Yes, I believe we live in a world filled with failure because of our sin. I believe too many do not see their failures and will not fall to a knee asking for forgiveness here on earth and from their heavenly Savior. No, I do not believe that God in heaven is sitting with his angels comparing fantasy league results. Tim Tebow is an inspiring player, but he is no more a “good guy” than KU players were in that 2008 game. However, trying to convince any KU fan that John Calipari is nothing more than a cheat might be a tougher battle than bringing people to Christ.
We spend far too much time trying to shape Christian faith, or the lack thereof, to our personal demands for our lives. Sadly, that is our greatest failure of all. A little more sincere “tebowing” would be a good thing, but you certainly are welcome to disagree.