The Gospel is Better Than That Viral Video
by Calvin Wisen - Lead Pastor
So it happened to me again this week. You know what I am talking about, right? I was on Twitter catching up on the news and then I saw it…in ALL CAPS. Demanding that I drop everything and devote my undivided attention to it - “OMG A VIDEO OF DADS GETTING INTO A FISTFIGHT AT A PEE WEE FOOTBALL GAME!! PLEASE LET THIS GO VIRAL!!”
So what did I do, you ask? I did what any reasonable, red-blooded American would do - I clicked the link and spent the next two-and-a-half minutes of my life watching grown men begin to yell at one another, shoving, and throwing haymakers with terrible accuracy while everyone looked on in horror. All in all, the actual fight lasted about 12 seconds before the men’s physical condition failed them - not a great look and not very impressive.
We Live In a Viral Video Culture
It seems like every day there’s a new video that demands the world’s attention. But there is a dark side to this viral culture that tends to capture one of two things. It either celebrates the best moments of someone’s life or it looks on in horror at the absolute worst moments. And that moment never goes away! For every video of an incredible proposal, a kid singing with an amazing voice, or a dad weeping as he holds his daughter for the first time, there is a video of a fist-fight, a boyfriend getting caught cheating, someone falling over after getting shockingly drunk, or an unfortunate bowel moment (no further explanation needed).
There is something about watching people fail or get embarrassed that fascinates us. There is something in us that wants to join in with the jr. high crowd from our nightmares and laugh at that person. It’s not a great look for us either.
A Viral Video and the Grace of God
The thing that has bothered me the most since watching that video is not what I saw in the fight, but what was written - “PLEASE LET THIS GO VIRAL!!” Why? Why does this moment in history need to be shared and laughed at by millions of people? Were the dads in this video acting like babies? Yes. Was this a shining moment of dads exemplifying sportsmanship? No way. Is this a sad commentary on the idolization of youth sports? Absolutely.
But don’t you think the men in that video already realize that? Don’t you think they are embarrassed by their actions and if they could go back would act much differently? I think so.
This was a bad moment. But now it’s a bad moment that has been watched and re-watched millions of times. These men could very well lose their jobs over this one bad moment. Their families will surely be embarrassed. They may well lose real relationships, and that doesn’t even account for the damage to their psyche knowing that so many people saw this video.
You have to understand “PLEASE LET THIS GO VIRAL!!” is a statement against grace. “PLEASE LET THIS GO VIRAL!!” is a statement about identity. The message this one line communicates is these men failed spectacularly and we could identify them by this and let this one moment be the thing that defines them. It is a cold, brutal, heartless statement.
God’s Response to Our Bad Moments
All of us have a highlight reel of bad moments. Moments when we were selfish, when we were foolish, when we said and did things that were awful to those we love and were an all out rebellion to our Creator. This highlight reel is called sin and nobody would want their highlight reel showed on film.
Thankfully, God didn’t timestamp us or define us by our moments of failure but He forgave, redeemed, restored, and saved us at great expense to himself.
Psalm 103:11-13 says:
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.”
The Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. Wow! Compassion says there is still hope. Compassions says, “This is going to be ok”. Compassion says, “There is still room for you in my family.” We as a society don’t need more anger, outrage, and shame…we need more compassion.
A compassion that chooses not to remember our sin, but chooses to see us as a new creation and worth of being loved and called family. This is the kind of compassion that God has toward us. The Gospel is so much better than our viral culture that celebrates failure. I want to love people like God loves people and see people like God sees them. That is something worth giving our lives to… it’s much better than a two-and-a-half minute video!