The old adage “If you can’t laugh at yourself, you should not be laughing at others” came to mind last week as I read my copy of The Kansas City Star. The story was about a fellow who is suing ESPN, Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees, and the individual announcers who, in the mind of this fellow, all conspired to humiliate him and disparage his character. The lawsuit centers around a game between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox that was being covered nationally by ESPN. It seems that the fellow fell asleep during the game and a savvy camera man (no doubt a part of the conspiracy) caught him in the act. He was not just dozing politely but was slumped over to the side sawing some logs! I wish I would have been witness to the broadcast to hear the announcers make comment on what was arguably one of the funniest things you can see at a live sporting event, especially when you consider the cost of a ticket! As often happens with ESPN, the video and resulting comments became a national hit on Sportscenter, and eventually to news outlets around the world. In the words of a different announcer “C’mon Man!”
I have tried a few times to put myself in the aggrieved man’s position, but try as I might all I can do is laugh … even if it was me they caught sleeping! The issue really points to a deeper problem in our “me first,- me always, what’s in it for me” society. Our self valuing system is based on whether we look good in the eyes of others, and any negative perceptions from others causes us great embarrassment and a loss of value. This “loss of value” causes us to take ourselves way too seriously. In fact, as a Christ follower, I am instructed to think more highly of others than I do myself, and to put the needs of others before my own. Jesus set the pace for us in this when He willingly gave Himself up for each of us. How can I do any less?
The second thing that this faulty self valuing does is cause us to compare ourselves to others. We feel good about ourselves when we think we are better than others, whether it is morally or materially. We are constantly looking to make sure we look good, are “respected”, or have more than someone else. It really is foolishness and it robs us of the ability to laugh at ourselves. Instead of looking around and comparing we ought to be looking inward to see how we are doing, using Jesus as our model. Two of the most important verses, at least to me, in determining my value are found in the Gospel of John.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
John 3:16-17 (ESV)
These verses remind me that no matter how I am doing, good or not so good, God loves me! The freedom that comes from this helps me to not take myself too seriously. It also makes it quite easy to laugh at myself in life’s embarrassing moments. More importantly it allows me to keep my focus on what really matters, and that is imaging Jesus as best I can.
Oh, and one more thing … DUDE! Drop the lawsuit, watch the highlight clip with some friends and have a good laugh … you will feel better about yourself!