All the talk in the sports world on Monday was about Michael Sam. He’s a very talented football player from the University of Missouri who will likely be drafted by an NFL team in the spring. But none of that has anything to do with why Michael Sam’s name is in sports headlines all across the world.
On Sunday, Michael Sam went public with his homosexuality. When he is drafted, he’ll be the first openly gay player in NFL history.
There’s a temptation that comes with a story like this. It’s one of those sneaky temptations. That’s how the tough ones usually work.
The temptation targets those of us who disagree with Sam’s lifestyle, not because we hate him but because we believe everything the Bible says about sexuality.
We’ll be tempted to think that the NFL, and in a larger sense the world, has reached a new level of depravity with their acceptance of Sam’s sexuality. That somehow the good old days ended on Sunday night when Michael Sam went public. As if football was the last bastion of hope for those of us who hold to a traditional, biblical view of marriage.
We’ll forget about the other stars that we cheer for in the NFL.
Like the Super Bowl winning quarterback who sexually assaulted a young woman and somehow managed to avoid criminal charges.
Or the defensive star who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman the night before the Super Bowl. He happened to play for my favorite team. When news of his arrest broke, I was more concerned with all of the reasons why he had to be innocent than I was about the woman involved.
And then there are the scores of other players in the NFL who never break a law but think nothing of breaking their marital vows. These are the players who have multiple children from multiple women, neither of whom they are likely to ever see.
Homosexuality is a problem. But it’s not the problem. If every homosexual suddenly turned straight, there would still be enough sin in this world to require the death of God’s Son. The good old days didn’t end on Sunday when Michael Sam joined the very small group of openly gay professional athletes. The good old days ended thousands of years ago in a garden.
If we care anything about engaging a world that is ever more accepting of sexual sin, we must unashamedly return to our gospel foundation (Romans 1:16). That means remembering that homosexuality is no more or less a sin than adultery. Michael Sam needs the forgiveness that only Christ can give. So does the Southern Baptist deacon with a wondering eye and a private e-mail account.
Jesus was never selective in regards to sin. In his view, no sin is acceptable. If we are to be like him, we should view sin the same way. All sin. Even our sin.
And if we are to be like him, we must love sinners, all the while remembering that they are not the enemy.
They are simply blinded by the enemy. Blinded from really seeing and understanding the gospel.
And if we look past our own acceptable sexual sins, all the while condemning the sexual sins of people like Michael Sam, so are we.