Josh Hamilton’s Non-Celebration

The World Series is quickly approaching.  As of right now, the Texas Rangers have been playing very well and could possibly end up in the World Series.  One of their key players is Josh Hamilton.  He has played very good throughout the season and is a major contributor to the team.  Since the Rangers have had success throughout the season, and now even in the post season, this has resulted in many celebrations.  The way most teams celebrate is to go back to the locker rooms, put on some eye protection, and basically spray, drink, and pour champagne all over the place.

For those who are not familiar with Josh Hamilton, here is a little background information.  Josh was the number one overall pick back in 1999 and seemed like picture perfect role-model.  Unfortunately, Hamilton struggled greatly with drugs and alcohol for several years and even dropped out of baseball while he tried to overcome his struggles.  In fact, it very nearly ended his career permanently.  Through dedication, Hamilton was able to get clean and claims that he has been clean since October 2005.

Since Josh Hamilton has had major issues with drinking and drugs, these celebrations posed a dilemma for him.  Alcohol has been a major struggle for him.  He knew how tempting it would be to drink when he began to taste and be around the alcohol.  So, what did he do?  He did not even show up for the celebration.  In fact, he did not show up for the past two team celebrations because alcohol would be present.  “Not only did he want to avoid any temptation to slip up on his never-ending fight against addiction…Hamilton said he didn’t want to give his fans the wrong impression” (Yahoo Sports).

What a great decision and a great example Josh Hamilton has given us!  People struggle with so many different sins across the board, but what we do with these struggles and temptations is what really makes the difference.  The nation of Israel struggled greatly with idolatry.  Near the end of Joshua’s life, Joshua told Israel not to worship the idols, serve them, bring others to this life, and even to talk about it (Joshua 23:7).  Joshua was trying to cover all stages of involvement so that these people could completely get rid of this sin.  In a similar way, we need to not participate, not be around, eliminate it from our speech, and completely remove the things we struggle with from our lives.  For Hamilton, that meant not even showing up for the celebration with his team.  For Joseph, this meant literally running away from the temptation (Genesis 39:6ff).  For you, it may be a different solution.

It can be so easy to fall into sin, especially when it is fun, popular, and there is pressure from other people.  However, in the case of Josh Hamilton, his choice brought him respect from his teammates.  On the second day he decided to stay away from the celebrations, his team came to him and they all dumped bottles of Ginger Ale on him.  They wanted to include him and yet respect him at the same time.  Even though it may not be immediately popular, people will respect us for making the right decisions in our lives.  But even more important than anything else, we will be in a right relationship with the Lord (1 John 1:5-7).  Josh Hamilton made a very courageous decision to stay away from temptation.  What are we willing to do to make sure we stay away from our temptations?

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