Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10, 2014 - Act vs. React

The big new this weekend was the blow up that Marcus Smart had at the end of the Oklahoma State and Texas Tech basketball game. After falling into the stands, he jumped up and shoved a Texas Tech fan before returning to the court. As a result the sports world was abuzz with opinions, many of them vilifying Marcus for his actions. And now Marcus has received a 3 game suspension for his behavior.

Obviously everyone will have their opinions but the problem is that most are centering on who is right and who is wrong in a situation like this. The problem with that reasoning is that at times like this, and in most conflict, no one is “right.” Each party is responsible for his actions. In Job 19 he states that even “if I have erred, my error remains with me.” (vs. 4) In other words he is taking personal responsibility.

The fact is that Marcus should not have shoved the fan; and hopefully will learn to ignore, and to act instead of react in situations like this. Isn’t that what maturing is all about? He is a young man that was in the heat of the moment during a game and got caught up in the situation. I do think for those that are vilifying Marcus that this incident makes him a thug or loose cannon. He shoved a guy that has a big mouth and now he is suspended and will hopefully learn his lesson. (And to be honest I think he could have learned the lesson with a 1-game suspension just as well as with 3 games… he didn’t punch the guy… he didn’t pull a knife or a gun… maybe those in leadership and the media need to learn a lesson about overreacting as well!)

Marcus Smart gave the following statement after the altercation (notice it sounds a lot like the statement made by Job): "Just can't let that happen again. This is a lesson I'll have to learn from. The consequences that are coming with it, I'm taking full responsibility. No finger pointing. This is all upon me.” Way to step up to the plate of responsibility Marcus!

As for the fan (Mr. Orr)… he is the one that most needs to grow up! Does he feel powerful and in control because he can afford to drive to games and insult and antagonize young men? What a legacy this dude has… when even former coaches talk of having to warn their players about him. This guy has admitted to at the very least calling Marcus a “piece of crap.” Any of us would be offended by that; and many of us might shove the guy and tell him to shut his mouth… some would even offer to shut it for him. This guy has a history of acting this way and yet Marcus Smart is more vilified for reacting…

Yet in fairness to Mr. Orr, I know in our culture spectators feel the freedom to say and do whatever they please – as though that is part of the competition – as though they paid for that right – it is the way we have been trained. Here is a quote I read after typing the last sentence… it is from Kevin Stallings, head coach at Vanderbilt:
"I think that fans more and more are of the opinion that they can say whatever they want without regard and without ramification,'' he said. "And probably because at times you can do so anonymously whether it's talk radio or Internet type things and then all of a sudden you get into a public setting and maybe there is some carry over. But I get the feeling fans feel like they can say kind of whatever they want to, that that comes with the price of admission and sometimes there might be a ramification for something that you say if it's out of line.''

The problem is that I have even witnessed it regularly from professing believers…

Well that is who I am talking to this week… the children of God. It is time that we set an example in the sports world and in the marketplace. We need to be a people known for the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. We need to be a people that even when in the heat of battle (be it athletics or life’s pressures) show GRACEfulness. Child of God you need to “let your gentleness be known to all men.” (Philippians 4:5)

Light bearers should be culture changers!

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