As sad as I was for the loss that night, I was even more sad in the days that followed to experience the true aftermath of a major athletic competition. I'm sure it happens every year, but this year was so personal because that was MY quarterback and MY team that everyone was talking about! I'm not writing this post to defend anyone or say who is right or who is wrong. I'm writing this because as I was watching post after post after post, it reminded me so strongly of Jesus. (Trending Facebook Post: Amanda Mallery equates Cam Newton to Jesus...you won't believe what happens next!) It was mind boggling to me to see such hatred pour out of people who otherwise probably hadn't said much about Cam Newton in the past year. People started picking out every questionable facial expression, every instance of negative body language, and literally tearing this professional athlete to shreds. Forget every kind gesture Cam has made on the field, every hour of community service he has done that none of us know about, or the way cameras captured him kindly congratulating Peyton on the field after the game. This man is immature, disrespectful, arrogant, and deserved to lose.
How does this remind me of Jesus? I'm always drawn to Palm Sunday. It was one of my favorite holidays as a kid. Our church always celebrated it with palm leaves, dancing children, and a dad-blasted DONKEY! Yes, this live donkey would march down the church aisles with a poor man (Jesus impersonator) riding awkwardly on its back hoping that the thing wouldn't just stop and relieve itself in the aisle (and one year it did)! We would sing and shout "Hosanna" and wave our palm branches as Jesus walked by us. The unbelievable thing to me as a child was that this day actually happened in history! This man who had done countless good things for people was loved and adored by not only his inner circle but by strangers as well! What a crowd! How loved he must have felt! However, I wonder if some of that love, joy and adoration made Jesus wince just a little bit. In His infinite knowledge, Jesus knew these same people would soon turn on him in a moment's notice. The same crowd yelling "Hosanna" would soon be yelling "Criminal". The palm leaves would be traded in for whips and the donkey would be traded for a splintered cross. Imagine looking into the same crowd of faces days later and seeing hatred where there once was love, profanity where there once was praise, and ultimate rejection where there once was ultimate acceptance. How quickly these people, this crowd, were influenced and how quickly they turned. Are we the crowd???
Now, I'm not saying Cam Newton performs miracles or heals people with his touch. There's a big difference between Jesus and Cam. There's a big difference between Jesus and all of us. Jesus was perfect. I do think that we can relate ourselves to the crowd though. How quickly I turn at times when my prayers aren't answered the way I want them to be. How quickly I can turn when bad things happen to good people and bad people are rewarded with good things. How quickly I begin to point out all the mistakes and flaws my friends have when one of them hurts my feelings or leaves me out. It's scary how easily I see everyone else's problems, but sometimes I refuse to identify problems within myself. When I think of that press conference that Cam did after losing, I placed myself in his seat and I knew exactly what my competitive self would have done. I have a terrible attitude after my son loses at hockey. If I was the main face for losing the biggest game of my career so far and they kept asking me why I lost, I'm almost positive I would have said something to the tune of "I don't know
To me, one of the saddest realities of the death of Jesus was that His death was at the hands of his followers. At the hands of his friends. Even though He knew it was coming, it had to hurt even worse knowing who it was coming from.
It's ironic to me that one of the saddest realities of our human existence today is the tearing down, degradation, and assault of people....by other people.
Fortunately, most everyone in Facebook land has moved on to bigger issues such as Beyoncé's performance, Jim McIntyre's bad decision making, and the always exciting presidential debates. I hope we can all exercise a little more "crowd control" in the future. It's easy to tear down. Let's try building up next time OR just exhibiting a little self control. My FB news feed and my blood pressure sure would appreciate it.
**And for those who like to say that they used Cam Newton as a way to teach their children a life lesson in how not to act....kudos to you! I used your posts to teach my child how NOT to act on social media. I call that a WIN WIN!!