This weekend may be Tim Tebow's biggest test as the quarterback of the Denver Broncos. He'll lead his worst-to-first AFC West team (8-5) against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, the AFC East's best team (10-3). Tebow has converted critics into fans in his astonishing 7-game winning streak that has featured six, count-'em, six 4th quarter come-backs. He is 7-1 as the Broncos qb this year.
The vitriol and venom that has been spewed about Tim Tebow has been nothing short of astonishing this season. He's been demeaned and ridiculed for more than just his football skills. It's his vibrant and in-your-face faith that has upset the apple cart and shown us the depths to which political correctness and inverted tolerance have infected even the sports world. In our culture's strange way of labeling, "Tebowing" has become synonymous with praying in American slang this year.
I've not read a better post than Jen Engel's Why the heck do we hate Tim Tebow?
From his advocacy of abstinence to his infamous “You will never see another team play this hard” speech at Florida, it is like he is too good to be true. He is too nice, and thereby we want him to trip up so we can feel better. We want him to be revealed as a hypocrite, and when that fails to happen, we settle for gleefully celebrating his failures on the football field. And why? Because he dares to say thanks?
I could not figure out what was causing this onslaught of venom for a guy almost everybody claims to like, and I finally decided it is more about us. He makes us uncomfortable. He is a reminder that the blue-red, liberal-conservative fight over taking God out of everyday life is intellectually dishonest. He is too good. Tebow is proof that God goes comfortably into whatever arena of your life you wish to take Him.
Engel notes that Christians, in Tebow's defense this season, have often been as nasty and little as Tebow's critics. It does not help to glorify the God that Tebow lifts up when we do not demonstrate love.
Christians, of all people, should be used to criticism. After all, the Christ we follow promised us that we would receive it if we were genuinely following Him. The problem for many of us is that we receive criticism justly. When we are maligned unjustly for living holy and authentically good lives, that is one thing. However, we ourselves malign the character of God when we act in ways that deserve criticism.
Tim Tebow is walking the walk as he's talking the talk these days. I can't imagine the immense amount of temptation and attack he must be under. Rather than arguing our cases about Tebow, can Christians resolve to simply pray for him and for those who are made uncomfortable by his vocal faith?
Don't be surprised by how God can use anyone surrendered to Him. Strange things happen when ordinary people commit to live lives of faithful obedience and joyful love.
The following video is a funny look at how dramatic and surreal this season has been so far for Tim Tebow.
Another video with Tebow's testimony:
By the way, I'm rooting for the Broncos this weekend!