Turn the Other Cheek
"If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either." - Luke 6:29
In and out of sport, you will be wronged. You will encounter moments where you are treated poorly or even unfairly. Coaches and teammates will let you down but how you respond could be one of the most significant decisions you make. For NBA point guard Jeremy Linn, one of those moments was in 2014.
In an attempt to lure free-agent Carmelo Anthony to Houston, the Rockets posted photos of Anthony in a Houston jersey prior to potential negotiations. These photos were on the outside and inside of their arena...even outside the locker room. Soon, reporters were tweeting the images to build publicity. The number however that Anthony was pictured wearing was number seven…Linn’s number for the Rockets at the time.
The Rockets will host Carmelo Anthony and have pictures of Carmelo in Rockets uniforms on Toyota Center marquis pic.twitter.com/2VfycvqlkN— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 2, 2014
ICYMI, this is the wall poster Carmelo Anthony likely saw when he entered the Rockets locker room. pic.twitter.com/vH8iquzx3E— ClutchFans (@clutchfans) July 2, 2014
I’m not sure what it would feel like to come to practice and see your jersey on another athlete your team was trying to sign, but I’d imagine it didn’t feel very good.
Linn later tweeted Luke 6:29 in response to the situation, “If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either.”
Linn’s response is an encouraging one for fellow competitors. Even though one could argue he was wronged and even though it probably stung, Linn used the opportunity to remind him and us of a greater opportunity. We can choose to believe Jesus’ words and make much of the name of Christ.
Will it be easy? Probably not. Will fellow teammates, friends and even coaches urge you to respond differently. Possibly. But look to Christ as the ultimate example. Completely innocent, He allowed himself to be brutally put to death on a cross to redeem you and I. He gave His life so that broken, messed up people could become sons and daughters of God.
“No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13
When you are wronged in your sport, when your reputation is smeared or a coach or teammate treats you unfairly – fight to believe the promises of God and the teachings of Christ.
It’s there that you’ll find unimaginable strength to bolster your faith and be able to be used by God to make His name great.
- How do you respond when you are wronged or treated poorly?
- What promises of God do you need to believe amidst those trials?
- How can you respond in a way that honors God and makes much of the person and work of Jesus?
- Mark 10:45
- Psalm 105:1
- Isaiah 40:29-31
- Philippians 4:19
- Romans 8:37-39