Responding to Josh Hamilton’s Relapse

My latest article for WorldMag.com:

In 1999, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays made Josh Hamilton the first overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft. He was an explosive player with a rifle of a throwing arm and the kind of home run power scouts can’t help but tell fish stories about. But Hamilton ended up having something else too: a drug and alcohol problem.

By 2003 Hamilton had washed out of baseball because of cocaine and alcohol addiction. Then, in 2007, he found his way to the Cincinnati Reds, where he burst back onto the scene with a bang. He had cleaned himself up after finding faith in Christ and some healthy relationships with people who supported him. After being traded to the Texas Rangers in the off-season of that year, he went on to become one of baseball’s biggest stars, winning the American League MVP award in 2010. He went on to sign a five-year contract worth $125 million with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim prior to the 2013 season. It was a tremendous comeback story, the best kind.

During his rise to the top, Hamilton became a Christian hero. Articles, tracts, and books were written detailing his story of redemption. He made the talk show circuit and shared his story time and again. He was honest about his struggles and the ongoing need for accountability in his life. He was a Christian hero and was treated as such. Maybe too much so.

Last week, news broke about a significant relapse by Hamilton. Full details have yet to be released, but reports state that he fell back into cocaine and alcohol abuse and may face disciplinary action from Major League Baseball.

Well, what now? How do Christians respond after a person we set up as a hero has fallen?

. . .

First, we need to recognize the uniqueness of the situation.

 Second, we need to realize the inevitability of a fall.

Third we must recognize our own culpability.

. . .

Read the full article HERE.

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