Jeffries misses redemptive moment with Tebow

This isn’t about your views for or against Pastor Robert Jeffries. It isn’t about his opinions on controversial topics or about the opening of FBC’s new facilities. It’s about a pastor suggesting that Tim Tebow is a wimp because he cancelled his appearance at FBC.

Although Tebow’s quarterbacking skills have been in doubt at times, no one has questioned his sincerity or his desire to share his faith. Some have criticized him for being too assertive in his views, via putting scripture references on his face while playing at Florida. So, when I hear Robert Jeffries implying that Tebow is a cowardly Christian because he cancelled an appearance at his church, it makes me wonder whether Jeffries has paid any attention to Tebow’s life up to this point.

Tebow is mocked for his sexual purity by the media, and his desire to live out his faith in a world of professional football is not only unique but exceptional. He is a football player, not a minister, but shares his faith at different venues of his choosing. If he wants out of his appearance at FBC, then he ought to be released without being criticized by people who call themselves ministers. He already gets enough abuse from others without getting it from people who should be appreciative of Tebow’s efforts to live out his faith. Keep in mind that Tebow is only 25 years old, even though he happens to be a public figure due to his faith and occupation.

A few years ago I attended the Willow Creek Leadership Summit simulcast here in Springfield. Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, was scheduled to deliver a presentation at the event. He was on the program. At the last minute, during the summit itself, Bill Hybels announced that Schultz had canceled his appearance. Schultz was dealing with a lot of pressure relating to his agreement to speak, and decided it would be better not to appear. I recall thinking that this was a lame thing to do, but remember Hybels being more sympathetic and understanding of Schultz. Rather than condemning Schultz, Hybels asked us to pray for Schultz and not react in a vindictive manner toward him or the company. This was a classy response toward someone whom I am not sure is a Christian. It didn’t matter either way, it was a good thing to do.

I still remember Hybel’s kind response toward this disappointing development. He didn’t use the platform of the Summit or his church to attack Schultz or talk about how some people cower in the face of public opinion.  Rather than take this as a personal attack or affront, Hybels acted in a redemptive manner. This could have been a wonderful opportunity for Jeffries to respond in the same way toward Tebow, but he chose to insult him instead.

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