Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why Tim Tebow is Loved and Hated

You don't even have to be a fan of the National Football League to be familiar with the name Tim Tebow. From late night talk shows, news programs, social websites and every where in between, Tim Tebow has been a target by both supporters and haters since his senior year in college.

Tim Tebow in an ad for Jockey

The question is why? Why is everyone talking about Tim Tebow? More importantly, what makes him so polarizing? Seems like you either love the guy or can't stand his guts.

America loves a good old red-white-and-blue story, and Tim's story does not get more American. He grew up in Florida as the fifth child to Bob and Pam Tebow, both graduates from The University of Florida. Tim was home schooled, but allowed to play in High School sports because of a state law passed in 1996. In High School he lead his team to a state title, was named to the All-State team, was an All-American and named Florida's Mr. Football.

At The University of Florida he won the Heisman as a Sophomore, and lead his team to a National Championship in 2009. Tebow broke numerous SEC and Florida records during his playing time, and he did it all without cheating. In an era of football that will be remembered by great programs like USC and Miami caught breaking the rules, Tim Tebow and the University of Florida won with class.

Like most Heisman winners, the pundits debated on if Tim Tebow's game could carry over into the NFL. The Denver Broncos took a chance on Tebow, selecting him in the first round of the draft, as the 25th overall pick. And what has he done in his rookie year? He lead the Broncos to win their Conference and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the playoffs! This is the same Steelers team that represented the AFL in the Superbowl last year. Not a bad start to a professional career. To give it some perspective, Tim Tebow and Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys both have one playoff win on their resume. Romo has been in the league nine years, close to six years as a starter.

So clearly there is a lot to like about Tim Tebow. So why do so many people hate this guy? The answer is simple, his faith. That is what Tebow is known for the most, his faith in Jesus Christ. It has nothing to do with his playing career, simply put people hate Tim Tebow because he is a Christian.

Don't believe me, check out some of the tweets that circled around twitter this past weekend.

God I hate Tim Tebow. (God: "I hate Tim Tebow")

Apparently Lucifer went on ESPN this morning to celebrate the defeat of Tebow

Tebow was 9-26 passing yesterday. Daniel 9:26 --> "...the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing..."

Saddest sight of yesterday: Tim Tebow being led away in chains by Satan.


Tebow in a photo for GQ Magazine

Since Tim Tebow first came on to the national stage in college, he has never been afraid to share his faith. From wearing John 3:16 stickers under his eyes, to filming a pro-life commercial for Focus on the Family, Tim Tebow is not ashamed of his faith.

The world does not like Tim Tebow because the world does not like Jesus Christ. Listen to the words of Christ himself recorded in Mark 13:13a, "You will be hated by all because of My name." And again in John 15:18, "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you."

Tim Tebow is not the only Christian in sports today. I recently took the family to Texas Rangers FanFest and felt like I was at a prayer rally listening to Josh Hamilton and David Murphy talk about their love for Jesus. So why does Tebow get all of the attention, all of the hate?

Simply put, Tim wears his Christianity on his sleeve. I must admit, even as a Christian myself, I have found Tebow's style a little too much at times. I find myself wondering if he really is demonstrating his love for his savior or is he selling Jesus as a product. Before you get mad at me, read on.

A perfect example is his prayer after a touchdown. Nothing wrong with praying, but now it has become a verb. From an on-line dictionary: What is Tebowing? (vb) to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.

And Tim Tebow seems to embrace all of the attention, talking about God in every interview and in every situation. Is this a bad thing? Shouldn't all Christians give God the glory? Am I a bad Christian because I don't get down on one knee and pray in the middle of an executive meeting at my office? Is Josh Hamilton a bad Christian because he does not "tebow" after hitting a home run?

But my opinion changed over the weekend. Tim Tebow did not change, I did. First I heard about all of the behind the scenes acts that Tebow does every week. Did you know about his charity work? Sure, like me you probably do now thanks to the national media covering the story during the NFL playoffs, but that has been going on all season. 

And what about all the national attention? I turned to FOX News to watch coverage of the Republican Debates, only to hear the reporters spend an entire segment debating if God cared if Tim Tebow won. Then it hit me! Because of Tebow, the national media is talking about Jesus! It was at this point I started to see Tebow in a better light. I truly believe that God does not care who wins a football game, but he can use football to get people's attention.

As for his witness, I pray Tim does not change, win or lose. Honestly it is the losses that a Christian can have the most impact. It is easy to praise God when you win in life, but much harder to continue praising Him when you lose.

Take Steven Jones for an example. I had the privilege of meeting Jones' parents in 1994. You may not know the name, but Steven play professional golf and always gave God the glory for his victories. In 1988 he won the Bob Hope Classic and sparked a discussion on God in sports. In 1991 he was involved in a motorcycle accident that hurt his ability to play golf. The Jones told me how the media turned to him as asked if he still believed in God. I believe, as his parents did, that he had more of an impact for Christ in that moment, then he did winning the 1988 golf tournament. 

Jones did recover, and shocked the golf world in 1996 when he won the US Open, still giving God the glory.

So Tim, thank you for standing up for your beliefs even when the world, and sometimes Christians question you.

3 comments:

  1. I agree 110%, we should all stand up for our beleifs like Tim does, even in the face of persecution.

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  2. It's not standing up for his beliefs, its shoving them in everyone's faces.

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  3. Tim is not "shoving anything," he is "living" his faith. That is what troubles people so, he is authentic. It's not for the media and it is not a word game, it is a genuine lifestyle with Tebow, and his life brings conviction to my own heart.

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