You know the song that runs, “Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket”? Try subbing out the word “Christian” for “star” and you’ve just identified one of the world’s favorite pastimes.
The most recent manifestation of this is the dating service that is offering a million dollars if a person can prove that she (or possibly he I suppose) has had sex with Tim Tebow, the popular New York Jets quarterback and outspoken evangelical Christian.
Tebow’s professed virginity has been the subject of scorn for some time, and it seems it would delight some people to no end to prove him a phony.
There’s no way to win with people like that, but let’s remember the rules of the game. Showing Christians to be hypocrites is considered proof that their belief is disingenuous, their profession bogus. Perversely, such a revelation somehow validates the unbelief and resentment of those who delight in wickedness. It’s a kindergarten stunt, but adults are its best practitioners.
When a Christian is exposed for having committed some sin or other, these people kick up their heels and dance to the news. It seems few joys are so great as confirming the prejudice that Christians are fundamentally false. But to feel better about your own immorality by exposing the immorality of Christians is the flimsiest of fig leaves.
For Christians to fall short of the standards they profess and proclaim is as normal as breathing. How can it be any other way? It doesn’t mean they’re phony. It simply means they take God’s standards seriously, even if they struggle (as most of us do) to live up to them.
The easy way to avoid being called a hypocrite is to define immorality down to the point of meaninglessness, but then what do you have? I’ve written about this before in a piece called “Go ahead and live badly.” The upshot is simple enough: If Christian morality matters at all, it’s worth practicing badly.
So what if Tim Tebow is exposed and all the worst suspicions of cynics are proven true? For the cynics, realize you’ve won a worthless trophy. For Christians, love him anyway. Pray for grace and mercy and forgiveness — just like you would hope he would do for you when you fall.