Two wide receivers from my alma mater, Oklahoma State, made headlines this week. Justin Blackmon is entering rehab and is suspended indefinitely from the NFL, and Dez Bryant has emotional outbursts on the sideline. The interesting thing, to me, is that these two people come from, what seems to be, radically different backgrounds. Dez Bryant was born to his mother at the age of 14 and lived a very troubled childhood. Justin Blackmon came from what seems to be a stable two-parent family with a Christian faith. When Justin Blackmon came out to the NFL I thought he would be different from the somewhat troubled Bryant. That perception ended quickly when Blackmon received a DUI before his first NFL snap.
A stable family goes a long way toward helping someone on the straight and narrow, but it is no guarantee. And just because certain boxes are checked in a person’s life (Christian, parents never divorced) doesn’t mean that everything is just great. We cannot honestly speculate about a person’s life.
This whole thing has made me think about the value we place on the stable nuclear family, especially cultural conservatives like myself. We focus a lot on how things should be, but I think we sometimes forget that great things can happen out of the non-ideal situations.
When we look at the Bible, especially the genealogy of Christ, we see a whole history of non-ideal situations. One of Jesus’ ancestors, Rahab, was a prostitute. David was an ancestor to Jesus, but it wasn’t through the virtuous Abigail, it was a woman with whom he had an affair and killed her husband. Even Jesus was born as a sort of stepson of Joseph, with step siblings. I wonder if the family dynamics were awkward there.
I don’t know if all this stuff really relates. All I know is that bad stuff can happen with people arising from a stable family, and that God does great things out of messy situations, including broken families. And don’t forget, the story of Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon is far from finished.