“Lessons from the Superbowl I”

The Superbowl is one of the most watched events in the whole wide world. In fact, the Superbowl 2011, holds the record for the most watched American television program in history. The previous record was held by the Superbowl 2010. The first set of lessons I got from the Superbowl 2011, was not from the game, that will come tomorrow, it was from the event that preceded the game. Christina Aguilera, a very famous and popular artist, was given the honor to sing the American National Anthem before 110,000 people who filled the Dallas Cowboys Dome (the largest dome in the world); not only that, Christina got to sing before over 111 million television audience in the United States. During her rendition of the American Anthem, she “fumbled” one line of the American Anthem lyrics. She was quick to apologize, she said: "I got so caught up in the moment of the song that I lost my place. I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through."

I was not watching the beginning of the game, but this morning, Christina’s name was all over the news, and it was not positive, people were criticizing Christina for forgetting that one line of the Anthem. When I heard, I was tempted to criticize her, as well. What do you think? Let me share with you some lessons from this incident and its aftermath:

1. It does not matter how good and famous you are, everyone makes mistakes, we are all human, including me and you.
2. Anyone can have a bad day.
3. Whenever you make a mistake, it is good to apologize quickly.
4. The mistakes of unknown individuals go unnoticed, the total opposite happens to well-known individuals, a little mistake is usually exaggerated.
5. Most of the people who criticized Christina have never sang live before such a large audience.

Are you defending Christina, you may ask? I am not defending her, I realize that anyone with a special talent and awesome opportunities has a great responsibility to do things well. At the same time, I am not ready to criticize or judge her for her mistake till I have sang the American Anthem or any Anthem live before more than 111 million people. I wonder how would Christina’s critics do, if given the opportunity to sing to a filled Dallas Cowboys Dome and hundreds of millions on TV? Would their voice crack? Would they forget one line, or perhaps the entire anthem? Would they be a little pitchy or perhaps totally out of tune? Through life, I have seen many critics and judges, whose actions and examples do not back up their judgements and criticism. In many cases, as times passes and life unfolds, it becomes obvious that criticism of others was just a defense mechanism to hide a personal issue, fault, hidden sin, double-life, or insecurity. Jesus said:

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier.” (Luke 6:37/The Message paraphrased Bible)

Are you a critic? Are you a judge? Are you one of those people who always finds something wrong with everything that everyone does, yet you have not achieved much? Are you one of those who always talks about perfection, yet you never have a positive and encouraging word for anyone, unlike Jesus? Are you known in your home, work, school, neighborhood, church, as someone who can always find a fault? Be careful, critics, in most cases, when exposed don’t look very good. My advise, look at yourself and ask God to fix your mistakes before ever checking on anybody else.

If you are being criticized, it may not be a bad thing after all. Examine yourself, ask God for strength to do your best, and remember, Christina could have stayed home and not sing. But she did not. She accepted the big challenge and sang. Most of the Anthem, except for that one line, was great. Through the process, mistake and critics included, she is the only person on earth who has sang the American National Anthem, live, to so many.

I pray I will not be a critic. I pray critics will repent, but if they don’t…It’s OK, do something BIG.

Prayer: Lord, I don’t want to be a critic or a judge, who is known for always finding a fault. Help me to catch people doing something good. Give me the strength to be like Jesus, who loved dearly and ministered those whom society criticized and condemned. Thank you Jesus for your great example.  AMEN.