MOSCOW, January 23, 2012―Robert Paul Reyes, a Virginia columnist, believes Tim Tebow’s on-field praying makes him a hypocrite. And Mr. Reyes has a scripture verse to prove it. He quotes Jesus who said, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.”
But as so often happens, the quoted scripture is taken out of context and misapplied.
In the Gospel of Matthew – where this verse is to be found – Jesus referred to a specific group of people called Pharisees. The Pharisees were religious leaders of Jesus’ day who prided themselves on their minute adherence to religious regulations. Self-righteous and smug, they also liked to show their piety in public.
Prayer was one means of doing this. The Pharisees had a certain number of daily prayers which they were obliged to recite at certain times of the day. Often they would arrange their activities in such a way so as to be out in public when the set prayer time arrived. They would then stop and assume a praying posture to be seen by all. Not infrequently, they would position themselves on street corners to increase their visibility.
What Jesus condemned in the Pharisees was the disingenuous nature of their praying. They did not pray because they wished to worship or honor God. They prayed because they wanted to impress others and hoped to be admired for their false piety. It was for this purpose they sought out public places where they could perform their ostentatious acts in broad view.
Tim Tebow, on the other hand, was in the habit of praying on the field long before he began playing in front of cameras and national audiences. He did not begin this practice when he came into national spotlight. Raised by deeply devout parents – his father is a pastor – Tebow has been unabashedly expressing his faith since he was a boy.
So the question is this: Why should he change now, just because some people don’t like what he is doing? Why should he stop being who he is to satisfy the whims of others?
It is a fact of life that we cannot make everyone happy. There will always be someone who will be offended no matter what we do. It appears to be something of a rule that the more rightful one’s motives and actions are, the more opposition he will encounter. Just ask Jesus or George Washington or Galileo or Gandhi or Martin Luther King. Even though they lived under different circumstances and pursued different goals, they shared one thing in common: They all strove for a just cause and they all encountered bitter opposition. There was no shortage of critics who wanted to stop them. So much so that three of these men were killed while the lives of the other two were in danger on more than one occasion.
But back to Tim Tebow. Apart from his long years of consistency in prayer, there is also a considerable amount of concrete evidence that seems to point to the sincerity of his faith. We can, for example, mention the fact that for many years he regularly travelled to the Philippines to help with the orphanage which was founded by his missionary parents.
Tebow’s critics would do well to ponder this: How many young men are there who engage in this kind of activity?
Tebow’s early philanthropic efforts – which were obviously not done for the sake of publicity – are all the more remarkable for the fact that it was apparent from his early teens that he was a talented athlete with a potentially promising future in sports. Young people with this kind of outlook tend to be self-focused, working single-mindedly to advance their career prospects. Not many of them travel regularly to far away lands to work with orphaned children. Most young athletes think that their time is better spent practicing their passing skills or their swing. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that, but it does make Tebow’s conduct seem all the more remarkable. And it also seems to testify to the genuineness of his spiritual beliefs.
If I could say one thing to Tim Tebow, it would be this: Heed the voice of God, be who you are and don’t listen to your critics of whom there always be many.
And may God bless you and keep you.
You can also read Tim Tebow and worship of darkness
Born and raised under communism, Vasko Kohlmayer is a naturalized American citizen. He has lived in several countries under various forms of government, but he still marvels at the goodness of God and the wonder of life.
He has written for a number of newspapers, magazines and internet journals. Vasko currently lives in Europe with his long-suffering wife and two beautiful daughters. He is the founder of The Christian Writers Foundation.
If you wish to be notified of Vasko’s new articles you can subscribe for updates here.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.