Shut Up and Listen!

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 By Allie T. Robison    

     Recently, NBA All-Star LeBron James was criticized by Laura Ingraham, a political commentator for FOX News.  After the release of an ESPN podcast featuring LeBron James and Kevin Durant giving their take on certain political issues, Ms. Ingraham voiced her opinion about what the players said.  She pointed out the fact that LeBron did choose to not graduate high school in order to join the NBA, and that what he gets paid for is not related to politics. She ended her statement with this: “So keep the political commentary to yourself or, as someone once said, shut up and dribble.”

     LeBron publicly replied on social media and during an interview at All-Star media day: “We will definitely not shut up and dribble. I’m definitely not going to do that. I mean too much to society. I mean too much to the youth. I mean too much to the kids who feel like they don’t have a way out and need somebody to lead them out of the situation they’re in.”

     I’m not much into politics, but I do believe that everyone has a right to voice their opinion. Of course, there are times that are fitting for the voicing of opinions, and times when it is better to keep silent. I also know that God has His hand in all things, the fact that LeBron stands on his NBA platform is not a mistake, and neither is the fact that Laura Ingraham has the platform of hosting her own segment on FOX News.  Each person is well-known and their opinions are heard by many.

     Times like these make me think of Jesus’ ministry. As I read through the Gospels, I can only imagine what those crowds were like who followed Jesus around. They must have been so helpless.  Many times, Jesus’ reaction to seeing these crowds of thousands just waiting for him to speak is that he has compassion on them. In Mark 6, Jesus felt for them, “because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” In Mark 8, Jesus has compassion, “because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat.”

     Since Jesus’ time, crowds have been waiting for a leader and wandering around without hope or direction.  Often times, I feel like a part of these crowds. I don’t know who to believe, I don’t know what is true anymore, and I need a leader. This is why it is so easy to listen to things like this discourse between Laura Ingraham and LeBron James and decide who is right and who is wrong. I could very easily get behind LeBron and his words, and decide he is my political “leader” from now on.  Honestly, that is how desperate I am for someone to tell me what’s true.

     I think this is what’s happened in our country. Things get so confusing, issues get so out-of-hand, and people start sharing all their different opinions that the easy thing to do is to protect yourself by getting behind and supporting someone else’s opinion, just to get out of the line of fire.

     What if we did this with Jesus?  His truths are the ones that stand. He may not have explicitly declared his opinion on gun control or who is “qualified” to talk politics, but he tells us what is important, how to treat others, and who to run to. In Matthew 11, Jesus calls for us to run to him for something we all need: REST! Verse 28 says, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

            In a time where I feel a part of a wandering crowd looking for truth, Jesus has compassion. He gives me something to eat, and he tells me to rest. Then he tells me what is true. These are things from a credible source and things that will change my life.  These are the real things I should run to.  Maybe, instead of “shutting up” and doing our “job,” we are called to “shut up” and listen to what Jesus is calling us to.

Learn more about what happened between LeBron and Laura here: