I have the sports section on my desk.
If you know me, you likely just spewed coffee from the Caps Lock to the Backspace key. I don’t do sports. I used to do sports, if you count holding down the bench so that the wind wouldn’t blow it over. But now, I don’t do ’em, I don’t watch ’em, I don’t follow ’em.
But my kids…they do sports. When I buy a Sunday paper, they grab the sports section and read it all the way through, which is how I was tipped off to the following story (thanks, Jacob).
Apparently, there is a football team in the Triangle called the Wolfpack. And apparently, they’re not having a good year. In Luke DeCock’s article from Sunday’s News and Observer, he writes:
[Coach Tom] O’Brien said it in so many words: “We’re not a good football team.”
“Just so they realize,” O’Brien added. “They have a tendency to think they’re pretty good. And they’re not.”
And, for good measure, “I haven’t done a good job coaching.”
Now, I have no idea if O’Brien is being humble and self-depricating or if he speaketh the truth. The closest I’ve ever gotten to State’s field is when I walk by on my way to the fair to get some deep-fried butter. I couldn’t tell you what the Pack’s record is this season if my life depended on it. I don’t know how many RBI’s they had last week or what time tip off is this week. (ba-dum-bum) But the coach illustrates a great truth:
We ain’t as good as we think we are.
Instinctively, we know that. When we lie in bed at night, we realize that we’re not firing life on all cylinders. And what’s more, our friends know it. Our spouse knows it. Our boss most definitely knows it.
But Coach O’Brien was man enough to say it.
He didn’t beat around the bush. He didn’t use positive reinforcement. He didn’t couch the negative in flowery terms. He told the team – straight up – that they’re no good. He even admitted his own failures. That took some guts.
When is the last time someone told you that you weren’t good? The Bible is chock full of those in-your-face messages. “The heart is deceitful above all things, who can know it?” “There is none righteous, not one.” “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
The difference between scripture and Coach O’Brien is clear: scripture provides a remedy that’s organic, while the best a football team can hope for is mechanics.
We break and then try to fix it ourselves. The gospel breaks and then heals.
We use lies to cover our self-deception. The gospel speaks the truth of hope on top of the truth of our hopelessness.
We say “do.” The gospel says “done.”