Imagine that, someone being criticized for publicly displaying their faith. Not really shocking considering the times we live in. American Atheists, a New Jersey based group that advocates separation of church and state, has decided that they can stand in judgment of Tim Tebow’s public displays of faith. David Silverman, president of the group, claims that Tebow is only popular because he injects his Christianity into his trade and says injecting religion into football divides the fan base. He goes on to say Tebow is “full of crap” when he displays his Christian faith on the playing field, accusing him of praying only when the cameras are pointed in his direction. And then to top it off, Silverman says that if Tebow is truly a Christian, he would pray in private, not in public. He states, “It is not surprising Tebow ignores Matthew 6:5 in which Jesus says, ‘When you pray, do not pray like the hypocrites in the street. They pray to be seen praying. Pray in the closet.’”
Tim Tebow doesn’t need anyone defending him, because he already has a Defender. And there are times when, quite frankly, great ignorance is best left without a response, but not this time. Mr. Silverman’s own hypocrisy needs to exposed for what it is. First, for someone who believes there is no Judge to then judge Tim Tebow for what he is or is not, I find quite interesting. Here you have a case of a person who doesn’t believe in absolute truth proclaiming absolute truth about Tebow’s motives. Do you see the contradiction? If that’s not enough, Mr. Silverman then takes God’s Word (though he doesn’t think it is God’s Word) and to tries to use it to make his case. Now that’s the irony of all ironies, which brings me to a second point. Mr. Silverman, if you’re going to use Scripture to make a point, try using it rightly and don’t take the passage out of context. Public and private prayer in Jesus’ day was both common and valuable. In Matthew 6:5, Jesus wasn’t saying only to pray in private, but was instead emphasizing the need for doing things for the right reasons. He was pointing out the need to check one’s own motivation before piously praying only to be seen. The Pharisees in Jesus’ day showed great hypocrisy in this regard. In Matthew 6:5, Jesus was dealing with a matter of the heart.
Mr. Silverman, you can’t see Tim Tebow’s heart, nor do you know his or anyone else’s motives for public displays of their Christian faith. But I assure you that God sees his heart and knows his motives just as he sees mine and yours as well. Mr. Silverman, don’t presume to be the judge of Tim Tebow, for there is but one Judge whom all of us will stand before one day. You might ask yourself how He might judge you.