What Patrick Mahomes Teaches us About Faith and Cynicism
Elephant in the article: I don't know Patrick Mahomes' religious beliefs or even what his character is like for that matter. I just know he fueled one of the most dominant comebacks in NFL post season history. And he makes my writing easier. That and his hair is really cool.
So without further ado, here's some spiritual food-for-thought, via the good o'l NFL.
As frequently as faith in God and other faith-like connotations are thrown around today, it's actually uncommon in religious individuals, and in our context, Christians. Faith usually comes or doesn't come when we're truly challenged. As counter intuitive as this seems at first, what typically wavers when someone suffers? It's naturally their faith, or at least confidence, in God Himself.
Adversity does this to the human mind, particularly when it's chronic. Yesterday's football game is a perfect, albeit smaller, illustration.
When the chiefs were down a touchdown, that was disappointing.
When they were down two touchdowns, that was discouraging.
But when they were down 24-0, the Chiefs offense couldn't produce even a field goal, and time was steadily ticking away in the second quarter?
Many fans had given up.
But Mahomes and the chiefs? They didn't.
And by that of course I don't mean they didn't just stop playing. I mean they didn't respond with the mediocre drives and occasional scores throughout the remainder of the game as most QB's and teams statistically do in these scenarios. But rather, he and his team tomahawk chopped their way to a 28-0 run.
Yesterday there was an obvious mental trust (or faith) in something other than their present deficit.
But of course, if we're honest, you and I are just the same.
On a deeper level, we have deficits with spouses, deficits with money, deficits with our own emotions; and sometimes we feel like we're not only behind, but the game is already over.
It's common for the quality of play to go significantly down facing large deficits. Coaches and sports psychologists refer to this phenomenon as momentum and in-game confidence.
Athletes are human after all. Sustained adversity breeds an expectation of the same. It's over, we say. Whether in sports or in life, It works on almost every level:
Children who've been betrayed by multiple adults expect more of the same.
One failed relationship after the next means that loving relationships aren't possible, or at least aren't possible for us.
God isn't real, because if he was my daily existence wouldn't be filled with pain. That's how I know, I know by experience.
This school, neighborhood, and city will never change, because it's always been that way.
These are the thoughts of cynicism, and cynicism is the enemy of faith. Why?
Because cynicism is protection for the wounded. It keeps us from further pain. Cynicism insists that something can't happen. It knows better. It's been around the block more than once. It isn't naive.
So are the deceptive justifications of the wounded. Because whether we know it or not, cynicism is actually a child of fear. It shields us from further damage, whatever that damage was or what could be.
But despite its knowledgeable and wise assurances, it keeps you bowed down on the ground. It keeps you from getting up again. It keeps you from real life, and what could be real joy. It whispers that the game is over, and a comeback is for those who simply don't know better. Arrogance is the older brother of cynicism.
But what if all of this was untrue? What if your deficits could actually be turned around? What if your cynicism has created an arrogance that locks the truth from your mind?
Only those who surrender their minds and all their thoughts to Jesus know this freedom. It breaks the power of cynicism, because cynicism is a condition of the heart.
Jesus Christ can clear the fog in your heart that the wisest therapist cannot see. He will convict your heart when no one else, who also happen to be afraid, will be honest. He will love you when no one else does. He'll show you how to love even when no one loves you back. He will help you walk again when you've forgotten how.
Ultimately Jesus gives us the power to walk not in doubt or fear, but in love. Because in love all fear is thrown out. And however drastic or daunting the deficit may be, the game is never over for those who turn in confidence and faith to Christ alone.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.