I am a big time sports fan. I am fascinated with all the applications of real life that come from observing our sports heroes. As spring training has begun in major league baseball, a story about the Detroit Tiger star, Miguel Cabrera has surfaced about his most recent drunk driving arrest. As sports writers recounted the details of this latest incident, they also drew a parallel to the life of Josh Hamilton.
Josh Hamilton is also a baseball star. He plays for the Texas Rangers and he too has had a history of addiction. A recent headline caught my attentions as a baseball writer remarked, “Miguel Cabrera’s future could include accountability partners like Josh Hamilton’s.”
It seems that Josh Hamilton is a Christian who has struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for many years. He had a major relapse two years ago that caused him to reassess how he lives his life and redouble his efforts to be accountable for his behavior.
That focus on being accountable for his behavior is worth considering. Josh apparently designed for himself a multilayered support system “that is without precedent at this level of professional sports. It is rooted in his Christian beliefs and his rigorous daily devotions. Its primary components are his wife, his parents and a host of accountability partners that include a Texas Rangers coach, pastors from three churches, his Christian sports agent and his father-in-law. A strict set of rules dictates what he can and can’t do.” (Dallas News October 4, 2010)
Bear in mind that these rules were set up by Josh himself. He has designed scaffolding that helps him control his impulses. He has learned what kinds of things trigger his obsessions and he has a plan in place to avoid them. He surrounds himself with people who can help in a very practical, daily kind of way. Josh never carries more than $20 in cash and never eats alone. He leaves nothing to chance.
The sports writers think that such a plan might help Miguel Cabrera. I think they can help all of us.
All of us have sins “that so easily entangle us” (Heb. 12:1). We too need accountability partners who can guide, remind, refresh and redirect our behavior. That is why James encourages us to confess our sins one to another and to pray for each other.
You and I are not likely to play in the World Series or receive an MVP award. That kind of public pressure may not affect our worlds. We may not need such a formal structure around our lives. But we do have areas of weakness, perhaps even addictions that desperately need our attention. This week, let’s not ignore those needs. Let’s all stop acting like we don’t need each other and find some genuine saints that can help hold us accountable too!
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel