My turn to weigh in on Richard Sherman

Four days after Sunday’s big football games, and everyone is still talking about the action on and off the field. Of particular conversation are the words and actions of Seattle Seahawk’s player, Richard Sherman after finalizing the Seattle’s win over the 49ers. As a passionate sports fan myself, I had to laugh at the divide that happened instantly between fans. Seattle fans quickly defended Sherman as being caught up in the moment, getting even for past grievances, and 49ers fans called his actions “classless” and “embarrassing”. Whether you think he is a Stanford grad using his IQ to stir up controversy and keep his name in the media, or a man ranting like a child, this much is true: he sure got us talking.

 ShermanThen interviews started happening, video clips were circulating on youtube and facebook, and apologies were issued and fans’ entrenchment was even stronger! Was Sherman starting something or was he the victim of bad sportsmanship? I listened to a solid hour of talk about the series of events surrounding the Sunday interview and subsequent words, and this one thing I know — it will continue to be a major piece of conversation leading up the Superbowl.

 

As I scrolled through my FB feed after the game, I was struck by how much the one moment evoked so much emotion on both sides of the debate. After reading a great blog that was written rapidly in response to the incident, I started putting down my thoughts. And really, it boils down to just one key Overboard concept:

 

Character is tested AND proven in the big moments of life.

 

Whatever you think about Richard’s comments and actions — whether they were uncalled for, or a justified part of a trash-talking game and sports culture — the reality is that his character was revealed in what he did and said. And the same is true for you and I when our emotions or reactions overflow into outward expression. Whether it’s because of sheer joy and elation, or because of frustration and anger, your “moments” of expression aren’t the building blocks of your character, they are the reflection of the character that has already been formed.

 

Many years ago I was driving around town with a pastor when we were blatantly, and somewhat dangerously, cut off in traffic. Instantly my friend threw together a series of profanities. In the moment, he got caught up and let the offending driver know that his actions were unacceptable. I couldn’t really blame him could I? He immediately turned to me and said, “Sorry for that…I don’t usually lose it like that.”

 

Maybe he doesn’t normally use profanity in such instances, but the reality is that in the moment of that driving day, he did lose it, and what was revealed was a glimpse into how he handles his anger. And I don’t have to look to my friends or acquaintances to see such examples, my own life overflows with moments that reveal what’s going on in my own heart. We all have opportunities to see our character revealed in moments where life throws a curve, justice slaps us in the face or where we overcome great opposition and experience extreme waves of joy!

 

Jesus said it this way, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). In other words, the character that’s being formed inside of you and me will evidence itself in the moments of life.

 

How is your character revealed in the moment when…

 

* An unlikable employee is the recipient of praise, or raise, you don’t think they deserve?

* You get cut-off in traffic?

* You beat out a competitor for a contract bid?

* When the waitress messes up your order…again?

* Your team wins?

* Your team loses?

* The house doesn’t look like you think it should after a busy day at work?

* Your spouse shuts you down?

* Your kid’s report card is way better than your friends’ kids?

* You’ve just won the NFC championship?

* You’ve just lost the NFC championship?

* Someone writes an FB post that makes you outraged?

* Your politician gets dumped on?

* You least favorite politicians gets their way?

 

I believe character is forged in the day-to-day grind of how we try to live our lives. Then, in moments, sometimes special, sometimes fun and joyous, sometimes filled with anger and frustration, the character we’ve forged emerges clearly for all to see. I’m definitely not proud of some of those moments in my life, but I know this: what came out wasn’t an accident. Whatever words or actions came from me were rooted deeply in the character that had been forged in the hours, days and weeks when no one was paying much attention.

 

What is revealed about your character in the moments of life?

Are you intentionally connecting with God each day, so that your character is developing with His help?

What areas of your life often reveal aspects of struggle for you? How can you game plan to create wins in those moments?

 

Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!

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14 Responses to My turn to weigh in on Richard Sherman

  1. Tom Tanner says:

    Very true words, Joe. Thank you for the great reminder.

  2. Jeff Coulter says:

    “Ethos” my friend! You nailed it. I’ve been thinking over this for a few days and I think you’ve incapsulated my thoughts well. Thanks!

  3. Danny Ray says:

    Joe, You’re the best (in the world).

  4. Steve Frisinger says:

    Thanks Joe that really does ring true. Thanks for your insight.
    Also thanks for speaking at TLC this year.

  5. I do think it’s worth noting that as soon as he knew they had won the game, he approached his opponent and extended a hand in good will for a good game. *THAT* was his immediate reaction… but he ended up getting shoved in the face.

  6. lmbaldwin says:

    saw this posted on my friends facebook page..made me think, that’s for sure., To be forever judged on a moment of emotion Peter denying his Lord, or lack of duty – apostles falling asleep in the garden, giving your handmaiden to your husband because you can’t conceive and you’re afraid he’ll lose interest, helping your people make a huge religious idol because your brother’s taking too long to come down the mountain with the 10 commandments, your grief so great that you cannot rejoice when you hear Jesus is alive, until you can feel his wounds yourself, – just a few moments of humanity…if those define our character and we can never move beyond that, then why did Jesus die? If redemption or changing our character is impossible, then what’s the point? I thank my Jesus the one true King that this is NOT true, and now, in me, his child, there is NO condemnation….peace.

    • I was thinking the same thing, thank you Jesus…

      • The other day I was under much pressure and in a single moment I a word came out of my mouth that I would never entertain, having said that I instantly felt remorse…I would argue that my true character was in the response I had to my discretion ….I know where my help comes from and I am being transformed but I am perfect in Christ…. He is my new character…

      • joeacast says:

        Thanking God that He is our help! Thank you Ramona!

    • joeacast says:

      What great comments, Linda! I don’t think the point is to forever judge Sherman on one action (or reaction) it’s to point out how that reaction shows up in our lives, too. I didn’t mean to be condemning or condoning of Sherman’s actions, just sharing how his response in the moment reveals his heart; just like my responses in the moment show mine.

      And I couldn’t agree with you more — the Christian life is about the process of growth, NOT perfection! When I see my moments of failure or weakness, I am especially grateful for the grace of God to help me move from my area of struggle into His strength of power and love!

      I think with Sherman I was reminded how certain moments shine a spotlight into where I’m at; hopefully I’m growing in God and those moments show my progress!

      Thanks for entering into the conversation with thought-provoking insight!

  7. Marcia says:

    I have mixed thoughts about this post… I agree that our character shows.. Scripture tells us that our hearts are wicked… not just some hearts but ALL hearts… so in truth, all of our character is at risk. We have to work daily to PURSUE Christ in our lives and to continue to have HIM grow our character. It is important how we react! BUT unfortunately there is not ONE person that can say they have never reacted adversely to some sort of circumstance. We have all said, OH how I wish I had handled that differently! How I wish I had relied more on God’s character than mine. Circumstances sadly can have an affect on our actions. For example, lack of sleep, sickness, etc. Not to put the blame on those underlying issues but they do have an affect. Ultimately we are still responsible for our actions. As far as Sherman is concerned… really, it is so blown out of context. The man has made apology for his actions. Do you want to be “judged” by those moments when your character flaws show? Are you a thug because you have a rant on national TV after you just commented to a player on the other team (paraprased) Wow What a GAME! and get shove to your helmet? The problem lies not in the character of Sherman but in our judgmental hearts. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Honestly, the issue to me is more the media! They report one person’s ugly character but neglect to show the other side’s who’s character was truly just as ugly. This whole thing is completely blown out of proportion…. Now as for your article on character… it has worth and merit. And it is thought provoking. As a Believer, I bow before my Lord when I fail to show the character that He desires in me. I, like every single Christian, am a work in progress. That is not to make excuse, but it confirms Scripture that we are sinners saved by grace and we need to be conscientiously pursue Christ daily, moment by moment!

    • joeacast says:

      Amen, Marcia! We are sinners saved by grace and in constant need of a Savior. I think we all have moments that humble and remind us of our need.

      I had no intention of condemning or judging Sherman — the media circus around this event just have a good platform for starting a conversation and hopefully sharing some truth. Thanks for joining that conversation!

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