Like the rest of the world, I kind of forgot about him last year, and this year I found all of the hype a bit annoying. I thought, too, that his public affectations of religiosity were in poor taste and that they were self serving. I no longer think that, really, and I’m seeing a young man who is dedicated, enthusiastic and refreshingly ethical.
I think the media and a lot of bloggers are being a bit unfair to Tebow with this stuff about God and Tebow’s won/loss record. I have written on several occasions about the risks that are incurred in public displays of faith and why I believe one’s faith should be reserved to private venues, but I don't believe that Tebow has ever actually ascribed a victory to God's intervention. He frequently says "I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," but listen to him; he never says "for this win" or anything similar to that. In fact, he never says what he is thankful for, merely that he is thankful. Yes, I think his utterances lack a certain amount of taste, but this fashion of accusing him of claiming that God is on the side of the Denver Broncos is, I'm pretty sure, just not accurate.
Here's what he said last night after Denver’s loss to New England. Notice he says what he is thanking his teammates for, and what he is thanking Broncos fans for, but...
"But before we talk about that I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and thank my teammates for the effort they put forth not only tonight, but our entire season and also I want to thank the Broncos fans for all their support this season. It definitely meant a lot."
That’s actually a pretty nice statement, isn’t it? Later in the interview he was asked, “How do you make sense of losing in the context of your faith?”
“Something I pray before games, during games, after games is regardless whether I win or I lose, whether the hero or the goat, it doesn't matter, I still honor the Lord and give Him the glory because He's deserving of it. Just like my faith shouldn't change, neither should that. That's how I try to approach it, and sometimes even in a loss you can honor Him more. For me, I just pray that my character, and who I am doesn't change even though you can be dejected, you can still feel hurt, you can still feel disappointed, but you can still honor the Lord with how you handle things.”
Does that sound like someone who is claiming that God is on his side? It doesn’t sound like that to me, and in fact, it sounds to me like a young man who is more concerned with being a person of good character than he is with winning football games. He sounds like someone who knows that how you play the game is more important than the outcome.
Maybe our politicians, of both parties, could learn something from him.