This season of college basketball has been exciting. We are down to the final sixteen teams vying for a National Championship, and there really doesn’t seem to be a clear cut favorite in my opinion. Yes, I hope that Kentucky will win out, but there are at least eight teams that have a legitimate chance to win it all. The next couple of weekends should be really exciting to watch.
There has been one thing this season, however, that has been really frustrating and distracting. And it doesn’t even have anything to do with a player, team, or coach. It’s a father of one of the best players in college this year. LaVar Ball, the dad of UCLA Bruins star Lonzo Ball, has really made this a miserable season if you pay any attention to the sports world. He can’t keep his mouth shut, and it is embarrassing. Lonzo is arguably one of the best players on the college level this year, and any parent should be proud of his effort on the court. But his dad takes it a little too far.
LeVar has gone on record numerous times over the course of this season, making ridiculous claims about his son, and about himself. He has claimed that his son is, at this moment, better than two-time defending NBA MVP Steph Curry. He actually said that they should switch Lonzo and Steph, and that that would make the Golden State Warriors better. He has stated that if his son is going to sign a shoe endorsement contract, then the number to start at is $1,000,000,000. That’s One Billion.
LaVar, who played in college himself, averaging 2 points per game, stated that he would destroy Michael Jordan in a game of one on one, both being in their prime. When other NBA greats stepped in to call him out on this unbelievable statement, he argued that he would beat them too. And most recently, he got personal with LeBron James, stating that his sons (he has two more that are still playing high school ball) are set up better to succeed than LeBron’s kids. That prompted LeBron to go on record stating to leave his kids out of it.
Basically, Mr. Ball thinks really highly of himself and his kids. I’m all for having confidence, but this is more about ego than it is confidence. He keeps running his mouth, and personally, I feel that he is actually hurting his sons’ futures. Think about the NBA teams that might want Lonzo to play for them. They are going to have to think long and hard about whether they want to put up with LaVar. No matter the talent of Lonzo, if I was a coach or owner in the NBA, I wouldn’t want to put up with his dad unless there were some major steps taken to ensure that LeVar was not interfering.
As I was thinking about the Ball family and all of this earlier today, I did draw a parallel that I had never thought of before. And while it is not exactly the same, there is enough to it make the connection. Let me say this. LaVar goes too far in trying to promote his son. He talks too much, and brags too much. But he sees greatness in his son. He sees someone with a great potential.
God sees us doing great things for the Kingdom, even though He knows that we are going to mess up.
And I have to think that that is what God sees when He looks at us. God is not out there bragging more than He should. But He sees something that He created, and looks on us with pride. He sees us doing great things for the Kingdom, even though He knows that we are going to mess up. Look all the way back to the Creation account in Genesis 1. God says that it is good after each of the first five days, meaning that what He created those days was good in His sight. Then the sixth day arrives and He creates man in His own image. Genesis 1:27-31 records day six;
27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. (emphasis mine)
What was different on the sixth day? He created mankind in His own image. We have the image of God living in us, and because of that, God looks on us with pride. That doesn’t mean that He is not going to hold us accountable when we sin. He did that even with Adam and Eve in the garden. He kicked them out of His presence because He could not be around sin. But He also had a plan to bring all of us back into His presence from the beginning as well. And that plan was Jesus Christ.
And that plan was Jesus Christ.
It’s Jesus willingly going to the cross that convinces me beyond a shadow of a doubt that God sees potential in us. He has pride in us, even though we sin. And He willingly sacrificed His son on the cross to pay the debt of our sins that we could never ever pay on our own. He continues to see our potential as well. How do I know that? He allows us to be a part of His work on Earth, when He could easily do His will without us. He gives us free will, meaning that we can betray Him, and many of us do. But that free will also gives us the potential to love God with a true love that only appears through free will.
It’s Jesus willingly going to the cross that convinces me beyond a shadow of a doubt that God sees potential in us.
Parents discipline their children out of love and wanting their child to reach their potential. So yes, there can and will be consequences when we sin. The author of Hebrews reminds us that God does discipline us, but it is out of love. Hebrews 12:7-11 reads;
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
He disciplines because He loves, and because He loves, He see potential in us. Even in your sin, I want you to remember how much God loves you, and what He has done for you through His love. He has had a great patience with all of us. LaVar Ball no doubt loves his son. I’m just grateful that God has a different way of showing His love for us instead of bragging and making claims that can’t be backed up. Paul put it this way in Romans 5:6-8;
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.