I’m a fan of sports. People that know me know this to be true. I’ll watch pretty much any kind of sport. So I was watching on Saturday the first weekend of college football season. I was happy that Tennessee and Washington won to start the year. But the big story this weekend (aside from the Georgia/Clemson matchup) was Johnny Manziel. Manziel was suspended for the 1st half of the game against Rice because of some alleged dealings with some memorabilia guys and receiving payments for autographs. This incident (along with several others throughout the off-season) had Manziel in the spotlight more for his off the field act than on the field.
All eyes were on Manziel when he took the field on Saturday in the second half. He did put up some impressive stats once he got into the game. However, he also did some acts on the field that were less than impressive. This included acting like he was signing an autograph, flashing a sign like handling money, and taunting opposing players. This eventually got him flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and the head coach for Texas A&M pulled Manziel from the rest of the game.
Now, there are a lot of writers and bloggers from one side of this coast to the other who have written and spoke on Manziel. But for those who are interested, here’s an aspect of the story I’m looking at and that’s with the idea of maturity. I will readily admit that I am not a Heisman Trophy winner. I do not play quarterback at a Division 1 school. But I was 20 at one time. And I have worked with a lot of students who are or have been 20. So I understand what it is to be that age and I understand what it means to mature and grow.
Being a follower of Jesus is about maturing and growing in faith. It’s about learning from mistakes and using them to grow. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that there are pains in growing and maturing. It is not an easy thing. To an extent, I understand Manziel wanting to trash talk and taunt and act like he’s signing an autograph and all that. There was a time I would’ve wanted to do something like that too. You get angry and mad and want to tell off people who are critics. But lashing out is not the way.
Jesus set a perfect example of maturity. He was beaten and taunted and mocked. Yet, he didn’t lash out at those who mistreated him. He died on the cross for them and for us.
I know even at this point in my life that I need more maturity. This comes from prayer, being in community with other believers, serving, reading my Bible, and following Jesus. I hope that Manziel finds that as well.
“Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 HCSB