The big news in the DFW area the past week has been the relapse of Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. Hamilton has a long history of drug and alcohol addiction and just recently admitted in a press conference that he had gone out and drank one February evening and brought pain to his family, friends and fans. I have heard many opinions regarding his relapse on talk radio and there seems to be a theme that is constantly recurring. Is Josh Hamilton still a role model? In addition to being an all-star and former MVP of major league baseball, Josh is also a devout Christian and uses his baseball fame to promote his faith. Even more, he proclaims that it is his faith in God that allows him to experience freedom from his addictions. To be sure, his past is one that needed redemption and his comeback story is remarkable.
Still the question remains…in light of his recent failure, is he still an example to kids, addicts, anyone? I guess that depends on your point of view. For me the answer is certainly yes. In fact, I would say he might be the best example in the public eye of what it looks like to actually live out your faith in the world.
I think that most of us believe that we are not perfect. Most of us admit to shortcomings in our life. And yet at the same time most of us hold to some type of spiritual belief system that we gain strength from or even believe can change us. Why is it then that even though we believe all of these things can exist together inside of ourselves, we don’t believe that they exist together inside of someone else? Especially a celebrity.
Maybe the problem is that Hamilton has been so strong in espousing his belief in God. Would it really have been necessary for him to hold a press conference to tell us that he had a few drinks one night if he hadn’t claimed so loudly that God is the one who enables him to stay sober? Maybe this is why so many people don’t have the courage to state their beliefs at all. If you say tell your co-workers that you follow Christ then you have to live up to it. One slip up and you risk ridicule, you risk judgement, you risk isolation. Seriously, which takes more courage – stating what you believe and trying to walk it out or staying quiet and living however you want? Plus, the bonus for not speaking what you believe is that you get to call anyone who “sins” a hypocrite.
This is why I believe that Josh Hamilton is a role model. I don’t think Josh has made his last mistake and I know I haven’t. I think he will have to ask forgiveness again and I know I will. He states what he believes, he attempts to live by it, and asks forgivness when he doesn’t. There are fewer and fewer people doing that these days.
May I have such courage.