Russell Wilson is one of America’s best-known athletes. A Super Bowl-winning quarterback, he is not shy about expressing his faith in Christ. Or the practical consequences of that commitment.
Last Sunday, Wilson was interviewed at a San Diego church about football and faith. The conversation made headlines because of the quarterback’s statement that he and his girlfriend, pop star Ciara, are not having sex. The reason: God told him not to have sex with her. Critics were quick to pounce.
One commentator tweeted: “I think americans value chastity in a way i find silly, problematic, and ultimately, counterproductive.” His tweet provoked this response: “Regarding Russell/Ciara u implied people trying to do it Jesus’ way by waiting till marriage r stupid. U owe all Bible-believing Christians trying to live as Russell/Ciara are an apology.”
Others weighed in. One chided “America’s fascination with puritanical/evangelical Christianity” but stated that Wilson’s pledge is “not hurting anyone (except Ciara and Russell Wilson).” When Good Morning America (GMA) covered the story, its commentators concluded: “Whatever works for you.”
When I saw GMA’s reaction to Russell Wilson’s biblical commitment, my first response was anger. The commentators were clearly saying, if the word of God works for you, that’s fine—if it doesn’t, that’s fine as well. Such brazen public rejection of biblical authority is no longer shocking, which should shock us.
Then I remembered something a dear friend said recently regarding conflict: don’t see them as enemies, see them as needs. And my attitude changed.
Those who are criticizing Russell Wilson and Ciara for choosing biblical morality need to experience the transformation such morality can bring. Those who see the Bible as just one authority among many need to experience the transformation its wisdom can provide. But people don’t know what they don’t know. If they don’t know how or why to live biblically, their need is our call.
Russell Wilson knows that God has entrusted him and his girlfriend with influence, and wants to use their platform for good: “I knew that God had brought me into her life to bless her and for her to bless me, and to bless so many people with the impact that she has, that I have. Nobody’s perfect, but he’s anointed us to do something miraculous, something special.”
Then he proved his point. Referring to sex, Wilson asked, “Can we really love each other without all that?” Then he noted: “If you can really love somebody without that, then you can really love somebody.” Imagine the impact on those who heed his wisdom.
Wilson asked those who heard his interview to pray for him to keep his biblical commitment. So I’m praying today for Russell Wilson and Ciara. And I’m praying that I will be faithful to use whatever influence I have for God’s Kingdom and our good.
The next time lost people act like lost people, don’t see enemies—see needs. (Tweet this) And respond with grace and truth, to the glory of God.