Andrew Luck might be the nicest guy in football. Recently a report came out that describes how the star quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts has a very unique approach to “trash talk”. In football players often use aggressive or insulting trash talk to get in their opponents head and throw off their game. Usually this trash talk is negative, degrading, or inappropriate. The goal is to make the other player angry and cause them to lose focus.
Luck, however, has a different strategy. Players from opposing teams who have tackled Andrew Luck are saying that the quarterback responds by congratulating or thanking them. Players will sack Luck only to hear him respond with “great job” or “good hit!” Players who receive these compliments say that it throws them off because they don’t expect to be thanked for tackling someone. They expect opposing quarterbacks to get angry when tackled, so Luck’s polite gratitude instantly gets in his opposing players’ head. Andrew Luck’s surprising kindness is actually a great football strategy.
Hearing this story makes me think about how Christ calls us to love our enemies. As followers of Christ we are called to return evil with good and to pray for those who persecute us. We are to surprise our “opponents” with love when they expect hate and anger – just like Andrew Luck.
We do this not because it’s a brilliant strategy, but because it’s what Christ did for us. On the cross Christ died for His enemies. Jesus came to take the place of rebellious sinners who wanted nothing to do with Him. That’s us. On our own we are enemies of God, and yet He still loves us and sends Christ to rescue us.
On the cross Christ is tackled for us. He takes the ultimate beating, the ultimate humiliation, so we don’t have to. Only He doesn’t respond by saying “thank you”. He responds by saying “it is finished.”