Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Should we blame God for our mistakes?

Ok, I'm going to step into a religious discussion again. I rarely do, but this one peaked my interest. Seems Steve Johnson, wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills literally dropped the ball in a football game. Not just any ball drop, a winning touchdown pass in overtime in the end-zone. And he wasn't too happy, so he tweeted about his frustration. The Yahoo! article is titled "Steve Johnson blames God for his overtime drop."

Now when you read his exact tweets, it seems to me that he really didn't blame God. He said "I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO..." He did say he praises God 24/7 and he never really blamed God.

It's hard to tell if his ending "THX THO" is sarcastic or real. Since he said "THO," at the end, I take it as serious. And it seems to me that Johnson expects to learn something, although he can't figure out what it is to learn about. And I also noticed is that Johnson sure likes exclamation points!!!

But ignoring all of that and taking the writer Chris Chase at his word, let's assume Johnson was blaming God. Is it ok to blame God for our mistakes? We often see athletes giving God credit for wins, why not for losses?

Most people would say that God doesn't care who wins or loses a football game. I completely disagree. God cares about the sparrows and they are two for a penny. He knows how many hairs are on your head. If He cares about these little things, don't you think He cares about a football game? (Especially if it's a certain college team that LOST to another college team this past weekend). So what message might be in the loss for Steve Johnson?

I'm not usually one for great discernment, but I have a few ideas. First, I have to say that I'm glad Johnson didn't revert to the Flip Wilson excuse, he could have said the devil made him drop the ball. Possibly, the message that God wants Johnson to get is that he is not the center of the universe. And just to be clear, neither am I (although I think I'm pretty close some of the time). On this Sunday, there were 90 football players on the active game day roster. Add about 16 more on the bench, cheer-leaders, coaches, owners, fans, advertisers and TV viewers and there were a lot of people who had an interest in the outcome. Undoubtedly, some were upset and some were happy.

Did God make Steve drop the ball? I don't think so. Not any more than he made Johnson catch the ball so many times before. That's part of the free-will thing. Does God care about the dropped ball? I think He certainly does. How does God decide when to allow a dropped ball vs. stepping in with a minor miracle, blowing the ball a little? Beats me. That's why He's God and I'm only close to the center of the universe.

Is it Ok to blame God for things like this? Well, it wouldn't be the first time. Several people in the Bible blamed God, asked Him why and asked Him what they were supposed to learn. Johnson's not the first to do this and won't be the last. God's a big guy, with big shoulders, I think He can handle a few questions like the one's in this tweet. The real question, is where does He keep His Blackberry?


Thomas said...

You got some great one-liners in there, Randy. Kudos.

If praising God for a victory is par for the course, then blaming Him for a defeat does follow (though this is the first I've heard of an athlete doing so).

I think when people praise God after accomplishing something, it's because they feel they were able to patch in to their higher self and that is, indeed, a grand feeling.

My opinion is that this experience is for Johnson's highest growth. He might not be able to see it at this time, but right now, he is looking at things from a limited perspective.

It's my belief that one day he'll look back on the experience and be grateful for what came to pass (pun intended) because of it.

4simpsons said...

Good points, Randy. We should praise God at all times but I can't think of a biblical precedent for assigning him blame.

That reminds me of a story in the beginning of Randy Alcorn's book The Purity Principle, where a guy blames God for "letting" him have an affair. He conveniently ignored all sorts of warning signs and was of course responsible for his behavior.

Steve Johnson sounds like someone who was sold the prosperity Gospel or fed too many doses of Jeremiah 29:11 out of context. When things went wrong he realized he had been lied to.

Randy said...

Thomas, "what came to pass" - good one... As for patching into their "higher self" - well, I hope that's not why athletes praise God after a victory. Someday they will be in for a surprise when the realize their lower self couldn't patch into Him at all.

Neil, thanks as always for the comments. I guess I give Johnson a little bit of the benefit of the doubt. He was probably frustrated and said something he really didn't mean.

You make a very good point that we should praise God at all times, in the wins and the losses. I'm not sure I'd be saying "I praise God that I dropped the ball" but there was a lot to praise God for after the game (lack of injuries, game well played, etc.)

I sincerely hope that Johnson continues to praise God..

Katie Pennington said...

Ok, I'm just now in the last few months really getting into reading the bible, but I'm going to try this...I don't like the words blame and God in the same sentence, but I like how you said credit for losses and wins. Somewhere in Psalm 100, it says to give thanksgiving in everything you do...That means weather it is bad or good. God may have allowed that "ball drop", to help someone watching, I hope I'm making since. It is wrong to be selfish and think that everything that happens to you, or Johnson in this case, is for you, God uses us for others as well. Blame God? No, Thank God, even though we may not like it? yes!!!!! (I like explanation points too!). My mind tends to travel a little, so I hope I made since!