Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Who to trust?

I've just been getting into baseball for the past month or so, having had an inclination for a while that it would be a sport I'd enjoy following. I've lost interest in football, and not been up for much other sport in general, except for a bit of Wimbledon maybe (and don't ask about actually playing anything; I get out of breath watching them on TV...). So I figured, hey, how about something different for a change? American Football was out of the question - twice my mate in Kentucky has sat me down to a televised game and twice I've fallen asleep. Eventually it boiled down to baseball and basketball, and baseball won. I don't know, there's just something about it. Maybe after a season or two - and if I still like the game - I'll be able to explain what that "something" is...

Anyway, the reason I'm posting is this: after a month of following the pre-season news (Spring training starts on Friday, and the season kicks off in April) a whole storm has blown up in the past few days. Amidst the bulk of signings and contracts, another steroids admission has caused huge upset for the game and the fans, even roping Obama in on the dialogue. You see, there's a young star called Alex Rodriguez ("A-Rod" to his fans) who, after some cajoling, has admitted on TV to testing positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003, a period when the development of testing and penalties was still underway, with identities kept under wraps until the agreement decided otherwise for tests the following year and since (hence us only finding out about A-Rod's results now).

Fans are split: some think the guy (who has, at least until now, been heading for baseball legend status) should be chucked out of the game, others think we should forgive and forget. Regardless, the biggest problem people have is an age-old one: their hero has proven himself otherwise. The man they revere has been revealed as a cheat, even if he's genuinely clean now.

I'm not going to debate the issue of which camp is right: vilify him or support him? I know where I stand on that, but what does occur to me is the issue of hero worship, or more pointedly the hope and faith we place at their feet. Countless times, people in the public eye have let their fans down for one reason or another, and it's not always celebrities we're talking about either. Policemen commit crimes, pastors cheat on their wives, fathers abuse their children. Never should we allow these individuals to smear the trust we have in the others that do have integrity. But also, remember this: never should we allow the reality of the human heart - fallible, corrupt, stained by sin, every single one of us - smear our perception of God. Thankfully, He has allowed me to understand the truth of what His word says, but many people find it hard to trust Him or accept that He is incapable of evil or of letting them down, because of their experience in this world we live in.

There is one Hero in this world that will never let you down: Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, King of kings and Lord of lords, described in the end times events of Revelation as Faithful and True. "For the Lord is good, His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations." (Psalm 100.5) Don't let man taint the truth. Let God speak for Himself.

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