I have prayed for Josh Hamilton more than any other professional athlete. Just to be honest I don’t pray for professional athletes all that often. But, every time I see Josh Hamilton on the field or in an interview, I am prompted to pray for him.
The reason I pray for him really has little to do with his success. Except that I would know nothing of him if he wasn’t a successful MLB player. These days my prayers on behalf of Hamilton have much more to do with his failures.
Hamilton has been very open about his past drug addiction and his continued struggles. I cannot help but feel if he had been more private about these things I would never have been prompted to pray for him in this way. I actually believe that if he hid them, as a fan, I would feel betrayed each time I found out about them. And yet, the opposite has been true for me and many more baseball fans. It’s the openness about his struggles that have caused me to be concerned with his spiritual welfare.
The church can learn from such openness. We are subtly convinced that it is our successes as Christians that bind us together. Tragically, this is why so many in the church struggle with serious sin and we never know about it. When such sin is uncovered and brought to light both sides feel betrayed.
The exact opposite should be true. It’s our collective need for Christ that binds us together. We are to be reminded of this need as we all continually cultivate a healthy openness in the life of the church concerning our failures. The more we hide our sin the more we lessen the awareness of our need for a Savior.
Let me be clear, in no way should we create environments that magnify sin for sin sake. Satan loves it when Christians worship their sin more than they worship Jesus. If we stop at sin and never get to the Savior we are just as bad off. And yet, being honest about how good we are at sinning, magnifies the greatness of our Savior’s success in saving us. Being honest about our struggles brings us together and ties our hearts together to the cross.
Here’s a video after from Hamilton’s four HR game earlier this week. Admire and appreciate the success of this talented athlete. Join me in praying for him in his continued battles with sin. May his story remind us to pray more fervently for one another.