Does Percy have a Nathan?

It has been awhile since I have blogged about the Seahawks. And the fact that they kicked one of the premier players off their team last week has got me thinking.
Last Sunday, I preached on the story of David and Bathsheba. David had an affair with her, got her pregnant, and then had her good and honorable husband Uriah killed so that he could marry her. The story we read on Sunday was the prophet Nathan confronting him with his sin. Nathan told David a story about a rich man who had all kinds of sheep. A house guest arrived, and rather than killing one of his own sheep, he killed the one and only sheep of a poor man—who loved that sheep like a child.
During my sermon, I asked the question, who is your Nathan? By that I mean, who do we have in our lives that tells us a truth we may not want to hear?
It is kind of a dangerous question to ask. Dangerous because it is hard to be a Nathan and it is hard to hear a Nathan. Jesus warned us to take the log out of our own eye before we point out the speck in someone else’s. We always have to approach each other with humility. And yet as we learned from David’s story, it is vital that we learn how to be honest about ourselves and our shortcomings, in other words, that we learn to repent.
As the Percy Harvin story broke, a lot has come out about how difficult he is as a teammate. There have apparently been fist fights and he has refused to play in games if he doesn’t like the plays he is assigned. And these things are nothing new. He has played for three teams in less than 2 years—he is not easy to get along with. This got me thinking about if anyone has told him the truth he needs to hear, or if they have, why has he not been able to hear it.
I have written before about privileged athletes. We excuse a lot when someone is a star and helping our team win. But that is why the story of David hearing Nathan and then repenting is all the more amazing. David was at the top of his game. He was the most powerful man around. And when he was confronted with abusing his power, he repented.
You know, when we are confronted by a Nathan, or have to take on the extremely difficult role of being a Nathan, Jesus says that we should not do it alone. We should take someone with us. I wonder if this is because the most important thing to learn about our own sin is how it is affecting those around us.
Apparently, Percy’s explosive play was not worth the fact that he was toxic to rest of the team. The way he acted was making other people less than they might be otherwise.
And isn’t that really what our sin does, too? When we covet or when we lie or when we gossip, we make others around us less. We make our community unstable. When David took Bathsheba, he undermined the marriages of the people in his community. Who was to say he would not do this to the next beautiful woman he saw who happened to be married? So Nathan spoke up. And David was able to hear him and to repent.
One of my best friends told me one of the prayers she prays the most is Lord Jesus, just free me from me. Or as I like to say it: Help me get over myself. It is a GOOD thing to hear about our sin so that we can repent. It is good because God gives us a fresh start. As many as we need. Because God wants us to love and be loved by those around us. And when you live with others, sometimes you might need to hear something you don’t want to hear. And sometimes you might have to say something you don’t want to say.
But when we are freed from our self-centeredness, we can see the gift that our Nathans give us. They help us make our team better. We might not always win, but we will at least enjoy the game a little bit more.
I pray that Percy will be able to hear a Nathan. It is a shame to see a talent like his wasted. But even more I pray for all of us. Lord, free us from us, so that we can be a part of your awesome team. Amen.

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