Will The Person Backstage Please Stand Up

You’re trying to get that bundle of joy to sleep through the night.
You’re on month 16 with zero ground gained.
You’re exhausted and crack from sleep deprivation.

Your boss called after hours. Again.
That project you thought was due in 3 weeks was due today.
You lose a months pay and possibly your job.

Married life isn’t what you had hoped.
In a moment of weakness, you message an old fling.
Your spouse finds out and things go from bad to worse.

You really want to keep your weight under control.
But you’ve let yourself go and people are noticing.
You get depressed and lash out at those around you.

You have a close friend but you’ve grown distant.
You gossip to another friend and they tell them about it.
The shame and devastation sets in.

You keep asking God to bring you prince charming.
Guys come around but they’re always lack luster.
Then you realize, the problem isn’t them, it’s you.

You battle with ego and pride.
Things have gone your way until this moment.
Now in loss, the world is watching.

*cue the cameras*

Don’t mess up.
Don’t you dare crack under the pressure.
We all know emotions are heavy, but man up!
It’s time to show us what you’re made of.
And, God forbid you do crack.
Don’t worry, the peanut gallery will be here.
Sharing why they would have been better.

Last night was one of the biggest sporting events ever.
The Broncos won and deserved to with their play.
The Panthers lost and earned that loss with their play.
Mere moments after the loss we get to the interviews.
Cam Newton answered with single words and walked out of his interview.

“Poor leader.”
“Bad sport.”
“Man up bro!”
“Show some class and lose with dignity.”
“That’s an awful example to the kids watching.”

He should have been a better leader.
The position calls for a level head and class.
He gets paid millions of dollars to play a game and should keep perspective.

But, as a friend and I talked about it,
“The guy just experienced the most adrenaline packed emotionally exhausting hours of his life. It’s kind of difficult to think level-headed at those times. I mean dang I often can’t think level-headed in the morning before coffee… And that’s just waking up!”

I posted this on Facebook (to varying opinions in the comments):
“Glad that after the defeats in my life, no matter how others would have measured the significance of the instance, that there wasn’t an onslaught of people ready to question me about it before the dust had even settled.”

The next logical response is:
“Jason, that is just a game and these are real life scenarios. It’s not the same.”

You’re absolutely right.
The scenarios are different, but failure always feels the same.
Hurt doesn’t differentiate between scenarios.
Pain and loss isn’t exclusive to a particular set of situations.

And when we respond, we might just not be on our “A Game.”

Think back to a time when you failed or lost at something in life.
Especially in your younger days. Immaturity can be a killer.
Now, while it was still fresh, put the world watching and questioning you about the event.
“What would you have changed?”
“Do you think you deserved this?”
“Why didn’t you handle the pressure?”
“Do you think you’ve failed and should quit?”
“Other people have handled it better.”
And this list goes on.

You have…
Been salty in the face of defeat.
Cracked under the pressure.
Reacted poorly.
Not acted your age or position.
Wished you could have had a do over.
Hoped no one would hold that against you.
Walked away from the proverbial press conference to clear your head.

There’s this one time Jesus was brought a woman who was in trouble.
She had been caught in adultery.
The crowds were yelling for her punishment.
“The law says we don’t do this!”
“The law says to kill her!”
The lynch mob picked up rocks and was ready.
The religious leaders wanted Jesus to slip up.
Jesus was quiet.
He ignored the religious leaders for a moment.
Then, standing up he uttered the most beautiful words about handling others when their obvious failure is on display for us to see,

“He who is without sin, throw the stone at her first…”

The crowd walked away.
It’s interesting to note, the oldest to the youngest.
As we get older, we realize our failures more quickly.
Immaturity takes us longer to realize our own mistakes.
Then once they were gone, Jesus shared,
“Where are those accusers of yours? Does no one condemn you?”
She replied, “No one, Lord.”
Jesus wraps this up, “Neither to I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

You will fail.
You will crack.
You will buckle and not respond properly.

I’m glad when I’ve failed as a husband, father and leader (and it’s been more than I’d like to admit)- that there were people who cared for me. Loved me. Showed me grace in the moment and guided me in my response for the future. And, that my failures weren’t on display to the degree of Cam and others who’ve failed.

What we need isn’t to vilify or shame those who break and walk out of press conferences.
What we need are more people backstage ready to hug the person who walked off stage.