When I was a young man, there was a show on TV called Beyond The
The show took a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of sports stars. Most of what we see on the screen differs from real life for these stars.
Our media and culture place sports stars, movie stars, and entertainers as people to emulate.
Now, this is a good and bad situation. Some people in these professions are worthy of emulation. Others, not so much.
Just because a person is a celebrity does not mean they are a role model, can speak for others, or influence politics because of their name only.
I’ve met and known many former professional athletes or famous people due to my work in track and field, the world Paralympic movement, and my business, government, and Church life.
The people I respect most in the world of famous people have meaningful missions in their personal lives that change our culture for the better.
For example, I know a multi-millionaire professional athlete who lost everything because he cheated on his wife due to his weakness and the lifestyle that sometimes went along with professional sports when he was a young man.
He shared his story very openly with me one day, including his deep regret.
He deeply regretted what he had done after the fact, but the damage was done. After reawaking his faith, he committed to helping young men in professional sports stay the course in their marriages and families.
This former professional star dedicated his life to helping younger players avoid the traps and pitfalls he fell into. Helping others avoid the pitfalls became his mission.
No one will remember your batting average, how many movies you starred in, the baskets you made, how many touchdowns you scored, or how fast you ran.
Twenty minutes after the potato salad is eaten at your funeral reception, all those things are forgotten.
I’ve known others in the sports and entertainment world who never understand what a powerful force they can be for others if they would apply the same skills they used to become a star to help others live a better and more Godly life.
Beyond the Glory is a good title for a show. Looking under the hood at what you do when the crowd is not cheering is a more significant dose of reality. Everyday life is real life for the most part.
It's in the moments of prayer and reflection and sometimes crisis when we make decisions to use our stories and checkered pasts for good that we find our true selves.
Use your past, whether it is good or bad, to help others now.
We all need mercy and grace; there is still time to do the right thing and help others in the journey.
After all, you and everyone else are worthy of forgiveness and love.
Spread more of that true love around.
Photo Credit: Tim Mossholder