We all know that when we are young we do ignorant things. Needless to say there are many things in my life looking back on it I really wish I hadn’t done. The problem isn’t the mistakes that we make, it is when we don’t learn from them. I unfortunately have also been a part of that as well. I had the privilege of spending a nice weekend with my family, which meant I didn’t watch a lot of college football which just kicked off this week. In fact, I didn’t even watch an entire half of football including my beloved Hokies (although I did listen to the game while traveling). But I did manage to catch some highlights of the bigger games including some from the Texas A&M vs. LSU game. This game was of particular interest to me because of a player in the game. The quarterback for Texas A&M, Johnny Manziel. Johnny is now a college sophomore who had an incredible freshman season and many things were expected of him this year. However, over the summer he got into some trouble with college football’s governing body, the NCAA. He supposedly signed autographs for money which is against the rules of the NCAA. Regardless of your feelings on the rule, it is still a rule, and it was reportedly broken. Manziel also was engaging in typical, but questionable behavior throughout the summer as well. Late last week the NCAA handed down Manziel’s punishment for the alleged sign for pay deal. He was suspended for one half of one football game (laughable I know). Therefore, I wanted to see how he would handle himself in the second half. Would he learn from this past summer and do what adults are suppose to do, grow up? Unfortunately, he didn’t! He made a couple of nice plays and when he threw for a touchdown he made a gesture like he had money in his hands. He was also caught on camera taunting players from the other team and then air signing his signature. I understand he did the money gesture last year. However, in light of his reported conduct in the off season both gestures showed a college kid who simply doesn’t get it. To Texas A&M coach’s credit, Manziel was pulled after getting a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting. I don’t want to run the kid known as “Johnny Football” through the mud. After all, he is still a young adult and there is plenty of time for him to grow up. However, it points to a larger problem.
That problem is pride. There is no doubt that Johnny Manziel is a very good if not great quarterback. The problem is Johnny knows that Johnny is good. My concern for Johnny and the “Johnny” in all of us (myself included) is that our pride will get in our way and it will be our downfall. James and Peter both wrote “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” We need to have a proper perspective of who we are as well as who God is. Everything we have, everything we are, and everything we ever accomplish is by the grace of God. When we lose sight of that we are in for a hard fall. It is possible to be good at what you do and still be humble. I simply point to two of my favorite players of all time, Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. Neither of them is perfect, but they always stayed grounded and realized that playing football is a privilege, not a right. The best cure for our pride is to look at Christ, because only He was perfect. So the next time we think we are something special let’s remember, there is one who is better than us, and hopefully that will bring us back down to earth.
By His grace and through His strength may we live for Him