I don't know whether I can remember a time in Australian sport where so much hate-filled vitriol has been poured out on an Australian sports person. I mean sure every now and then we have all got angry at an under performing sports star or quibbled about a poor selection in the Australian cricket team... I personally remember having not-so-kind-a-word with Greg Norman through my TV screen a couple of times... But this was different... For some reason Anthony Mundine has attracted malicious and scathing venom from the Australian public before, during and after this fight!
The reason for this hatred is Mundine's ego! Anyone who calls themself "The Man" and claims to be Australia's greatest sporting star has a seriously deluded picture of himself. There probably hasn't been a man who publicly over-inflates his self-image more than Anthony Mundine; and in a culture where we don't just cut down tall poppies but we get out the whipper-snipper and make sure we do a decent job of it, anyone who sticks their head up as high as Mundine is going to be a prime target. The hatred Australia has felt towards "The Man" is due mainly to his own pride... We just can't stand the arrogance and self-absorbed delusion that Anthony Mundine has become infamous for.
However, we must ask ourselves the question: if it is so easy for us to spot, name and shame pride when it manifests itself in a guy like Anthony, how come we are so inept at spotting it in our own lives? We are so quick to jump down the throat of overt self-promotion yet when we exhibit exactly the same self-absorbed behaviour, albeit in a much more subtle and socially acceptable manner, it doesn't even raise an eyebrow.
Augustine, a super old school teacher of the early church, called pride something like the mother of all sins. What he meant by this was that an over-inflated view of ourselves was the root cause of pretty much all our sinful behaviour... sin is selfishness and self-promotion... we use sin to elevate our reputations, influence, attractiveness and bank balances. Think about it:
- Why do we lie - generally because we value our own reputation (or whatever is at stake) more than the person we are lying to
- Why do we envy - because deep down inside we feel that we are better than someone else and deserve to have whatever it is they have more than they do
- Why do we fail to speak-up when we see oppression or bullying - because we believe that our sense of peace and comfort are more important than helping the oppressed
- Why are we gluttonous, greedy and immoral - because we think they are they only things that will satisfy our cravings
- Why are we self-righteous - because we are too proud to admit weaknesses and our desperate need for Jesus
There is no doubt that no matter how sin manifests itself in our lives that it is merely our pride screaming out trying to convince us and the world around us that "We are the greatest!" We may not hire publicists to promote us, make bold claims about our greatness or come up with punchy catch phrases to cement our superiority, but there is a little bit of "The Man" in all of us. A part of us that will always respond to preserve, protect and promote... well me! If we were to be consistent we would be praying on all of our mistakes, misfortunes and failures so we can jump down our own throats with a sharp and sarcastic tone. We have to face the harsh reality that our pride is every bit as ugly as that of Anthony Mundine.
But the gospel is the least proud message in the universe. It tells the story of the real "Man"... the One who could rightfully claim greatness without equal... and yet He did not hold onto His greatness or lord it over some bunch of minions. Rather Jesus laid down His greatness and embrace weakness and nothingness in order that we might receive all the benefits of His awesomeness. If anything typified the life of the only one who has any real claim to greatness it would be humility not pride, sacrifice not self-service. And through this perfect humility He offers us forgiveness for sins and peace with God. But you can't get it through pride! In fact the only way to receive what the humble Jesus offers is through humble acknowledgement of our desperate need for Jesus.
You may not think of yourself as proud and boastful like "The Man" Mundine, but left to our own devices our pride will grow into an abhorred beast of burden. Lay it aside and repent of your pride-filled sin and receive the humble Jesus today!