"Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips."
-Proverbs 27:2 (NIV)
My all-time favorite comedian is Brian Regan. He is funny and clean--a hard combination to find these days. In one of his routines, he talks about running into a "Me Monster," a guy he doesn't even know who is doing all the talking for everyone else.
Beware of the Me Monster! The Me Monster is someone who is completely self-absorbed. Once you have met one, you will never forget him. In the world of sports, Me Monsters are everywhere. They lurk in every sport, in every school, on every team. I'll never forget my first Me Monster teammate. His name was Butch, and he was on my college lacrosse team. I'd played with self-centered guys before, but never a full-blown Me Monster. Now, I'm not talking about the kind of player who is a ball hog that never passes. I'm not even talking about the one who brags about his accomplishments and thinks he is great. I'm talking about the player who is excited after a tough loss, just because he scored his goals. That's how Butch felt. His excitement about how well he played and what he did on the field as an individual was vividly evident, regardless of the team's performance. On the other hand, if we won a big game and he didn't score or play well, he would be visibility upset in the locker room. I never saw him celebrate another teammate's success. The only way he was happy was if the he played well as an individual.
Butch lived by the me-rather-than-them (teammates) philosophy, which could just as well be me-rather-than-Him (God). Butch had incredible skills as a lacrosse player. He had moves, dodges and a shot I could only dream of having. However, because of his pursuit of self, he was not a great player. He wasn't even a good player. He was a dangerous player who broke down teamwork, trust and loyalty within the team.
The part that bothered me most was not that Butch was on the team (I actually got to know him quite well and had many great conversations with him.), but that he had mad skills that I didn't. It bugged me that I saw myself in Butch. Over time, I started to see how I was just like him, but I kept it secret. Butch just let it all hang out, because he didn't care what others thought. What you saw is what you got. For me, as a Christian, I couldn't let my Me Monster be seen, so I just controlled it. That made me more than a Me Monster; it made me a hypocrite. At least Butch was real.
God taught me a lot through Butch. The Lord began to work on my heart and revealed to me how much of me was in me. I needed Jesus in me. I wanted more of others in me. I recently learned that we speak more than nine million words a year. Half of them are I, me, my and mine. I was sick of talking and thinking about me. Praise God for Butch! He was a spark in my life that helped me refocus and die to the Me Monster inside.
As a competitor, I am committed to not being a Me Monster and dropping pride bombs everywhere I go. The world of sports has too much ego and not enough sacrifice. I must be committed to celebrating the success of others regardless of my performance. I must be committed to always putting the team before myself. I must be committed to playing the role my coach asks me whether I agree with him or not. I must be committed to reflecting the glory back to Jesus and not absorbing it for myself.
This might sound crazy, but I pray that God would put a Me Monster on your team so that you can watch and learn. I pray that if you are a full-blown Me Monster, God will open your eyes so that you might see yourself as God sees you. Time to do some soul searching! Be honest with yourself.
Remember, beware of the Me Monster. It might be closer than you think.
1. Have you ever had a Me Monster on your team? How did that person make you feel? How did you respond them?
2. What can you learn from Me Monsters?
3. Why is it so easy for others to see what we cannot see ourselves?
4. How can you guard yourself from becoming a Me Monster?
5. How can you reflect glory and not absorb it?
1 Corinthians 15:31
2 Timothy 4:7
"Jesus, I know it is easy to identify others as Me Monsters. It is easy to see others' gaps, weaknesses and sins. Lord, forgive me for judging others. Help me to see the junk in my own life. Reveal to me the pride and selfishness that is deep in my heart that no one sees. Heal me of my pursuit of self and teach me how to die to my self every day. My desire is to praise You on and off the field of competition. You are the Famous One, not me. Today, I give You all the glory, Jesus!"