All over my social media news outlets was a story of Tebow being dumped by his ex-girlfriend, Olivia Culpo. The reason Tebow was dumped, allegedly, was because of “lack of sex.” Tebow has allegedly been dumped by a woman for not being willing to sleep with her prior to marriage. Not only was this story being shared by media outlets, but also by private users and friends who were commending Tebow for sticking to his values.
After seeing all of the popularity this story festered, I shared the following status on my Facebook:
“As a huge Tebow fan, let me be clear: Tebow deserves no applause for being dumped for his abstinence. He actually deserves criticism for dating someone like that in the first place. That conversation should have been had prior to a dating relationship. He should be dating like-minded Christians who love God and His Law. Where are his elders? Where’s his accountability? I certainly hope he had people in his life encouraging him to not enter into a dating relationship with an unbeliever. Entering into a dating relationship with an unbeliever who wants to engage in pre-marital sex demonstrates a lack of spiritual maturity on his end and deserves no applause.”
I stand by my comment. However, many took great offense to it. Many considered it an unnecessary attack on a brother. However, the majority of criticism I took was for being judgmental, specifically for a sin that I, and everyone else, am guilty of.
Before I lovingly answer my critics,
let me make some important things clear:
1) I love Tim Tebow.
I love him and wish I knew him. I am excited to be in heaven one day with a man like him. He is an awesome brother-in-Christ, bold in his faith, and deserves the recognition and platform he has.
2) I think Tebow is a good NFL quarterback.
You heard me, Quarterback. My defense for this is beyond the scope of this blog, but I believe he is far better than 99% of the current NFL back-ups as well as many starters. I think he is a winner, a good quarterback, a much improved quarterback, and has nothing but potential at that position. He is exciting to watch and it’s a shame he isn’t on a roster.
3) I am proud of Tebow’s celibacy.
I am proud he refrains from pre-marital sex, and I am proud that he is public about that fact. I am proud that he honors the law of God.
Let me also admit a couple things I regret:
1) I regret believing this story in the first place.
Reports are already coming out denying that the two ever dated. And that makes sense. Tebow is likely the most desired bachelor in the country and possibly even the world. An official dating relationship would seem to have been a bigger deal. The reports are now reading that the two had feelings for each other and spent time together (never alone), but never dated because Olivia Culpo knew Tebow wouldn’t sleep with her. That is a very different story. Although the reports do affirm Tebow was interested (dumb), it is not confirmed that the two were ever together. And since Tebow has been so public about his virginity and his continued commitment to it, how could Olivia possibly date him not knowing in advance that would be an issue? It doesn’t make sense.
2) I regret not emphasizing the audience of the status.
The status was supposed to criticize US more than HIM. Although I was disappointed in Tebow, I was more disappointed in our lack of disappointment. My status was not to serve as an “accountability check” for Tebow (that’s why I called for his elders). Tim Tebow has no idea who I am. He never will. He simply cannot and would not care very much about my opinion. I recognize that. There are others who do care though, and that’s what this was about. Our lack of discernment was on trial just as much as his.
Defending My Claims
If it is true Tebow dated this woman, he made a mistake, one in which we shouldn’t be glorifying. The logic to me is similar to celebrating a high school teen who drove 100 MPH through a school zone because he wasn’t drinking and driving. Good for him, but he was still stupid.
Although it is unlikely this story is true, my comments were under the impression it was, and so was everyone’s criticisms about them.
This means that the defense for Tebow’s behavior was not a call to “wait for the details of the story.” They believed it was true and still defended it, thus, allow me to defend my position as if the story is true (there are elements that still apply even if not).
Many people were angry at me for calling out a brother’s sin when I too sin. Many believe anyone with sin cannot judge another’s sin, especially if the sin in question is one that the judge has experienced. Let’s deal with this in two parts.
First of all, it is asinine to assert that a sinner can’t judge someone else. Paul certainly had sins. He persecuted the church. He killed Christians. That’s sin. Paul had so much sin he was led to refer to himself as the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Paul considered himself the worst sinner of all.
And what did the worst sinner of all feel he had the obligation to do? Rebuke his brother in Christ Peter when Peter was in sin.
But when [Peter] came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to [Peter] before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” – Galatians 2: 11-21
The emphasis added is mine, and it demonstrates Paul in no way taught through inspiration that only perfect people (of whom none exist as he tells us in Romans 3) can judge others. If the worst sinner of all can rebuke an Apostle, certainly a sainthood holding believer can rebuke Tim Tebow.
The other objection is that I can’t judge Tebow for something I am guilty of. The above reference still stands. Paul was guilty of hypocrisy (as we all are). Yet, he called Peter out for it.
There is a time when sins would prohibit a person from judgment, as Jesus tells us in Matthew 7: 1-5:
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
This verse is not saying that men are never to judge. Paul judged. It is believed to say that because carnal Christians and non-Christians alike not only quote only one verse of this out of its context, but they only quote half of that one, out-of-context verse. The verse does not end with “judge not”. Jesus here is telling us that we ought not to have double standards. He is telling us the that however we judge others will be returned to us. Therefore, we ought not to judge people if we ourselves are not willing to hold ourselves to the same judgment. As Douglas Wilson put it,
“the Bible applies to me first. It applies to me before I think about anyone else, or laws, or anything. The Bible applies to me in the first instance.”
And what I said to Tebow I fully believe applies to me. If I date a non-believer, I hope my friends and elders would judge me and try to protect me from that situation.
The other aspect Jesus’ command to us is to “remove the plank”. That means that past sins don’t discredit a person from judgment, but current sins do. I fully admit I have made the same mistake that Tebow made. However, I believe, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I have removed that plank from my eye. It has been years since I have dated an unbeliever, years. I am not currently in an unhealthy dating relationship with a non-christian. I believe I have repented of that sin. Thus, it isn’t hypocritical to rebuke it in others.
The last issue to get at is the constant claim I received that I shouldn’t attack a brother in Christ. More will be said on this later, but let me yet again draw our attention to Paul:
For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? – 1st Corinthians 5:12
A thorough explanation of what Paul means when he says he doesn’t judge outsiders is again outside the scope of this blog. The portion worth noticing is that Paul here is emphasizing the need for Christians to be particularly concerned with how other Christians behave. In fact, the context of the chapter is Paul calling for the excommunication of a local church member engaged in unrepentant sexual sin. Paul was not afraid to “attack” believers, even to the point of kicking them out of church. Tebow is a Christian, and a very popular public one to boot. Therefore, it is the job of his brothers and sisters in the Lord to rebuke him and hold him accountable.
If the reports were reversed, and they read that Tebow did sleep with his girlfriend, would Christians check the sexual background of anyone who would dare say “shame on you”?
The Real Issue At Hand
There seems to be a bigger issue at hand here. Thus, by way of conclusion, allow me to turn what seems to be silly, irrelevant, TV gossip, fitted for the likes of MTV, into an important teaching moment.
Why was everyone so upset?
The reason for my post being wrong which was most vocalized was that Tebow did “what we all do”. In other words, the real reason people were upset was because they behave or have behaved like Tebow. Therefore, my criticism was taken personally.
Notice that charges of “attacking Tebow” were being made to a person who has literally lost a handful of friends because of his constant defenses on behalf of Tebow. As a man and a football player, I have publicly defended him on multiple occasions and in many vehement and intense conversations. Very few of the same people who disliked my comments came rushing to Tebow’s defense then. In fact, I have seen many Christians insult and mock Tebow for his football ability. They publicly attack him, a brother, and it seems to bother no one. Why was this different?
This one was different because most of these people aren’t guilty of being “bad quarterbacks.” They are guilty however, of dating unbelievers without shame. They viewed my criticism of Tebow as criticisms of them.
Doesn’t this fact demonstrate the need for my criticism all the more? So many people brought up the fact that Tebow “simply did what every Christian at some point in their lives does.” If this sin, or this danger, is that rampant among the Christian community, if it is this universal, than it needs to be condemned more, not less. Clearly, the Church (including me) is failing on this issue. We are not doing a good job at teaching and holding one another to proper Christian dating standards drawn from the Sacred Scriptures.
If this issue is so common, and so universal, then our judgment and discernment needs to increase. That means Tebow’s behavior is a representation of a bigger issue within the Church. And for the sake of our children, their purity, and the scars many of us carry in our souls from damaged past relationships, join me, don’t fight me, in bringing this issue to light.