“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid soul who know neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt
It is easy to criticize people. It could be about almost anything; work, church, politics, sports, and the list could go on and on. The thing I have always found intriguing is that most of the time it is the people who are doing nothing, that are complaining. This is what makes this quote so powerful to me “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena”. Many inventors and great men were ridiculed by what others saw as failures. Thomas Edison found thousands of ways a light bulb would not work, but because he was still in the arena trying, he succeeded. Abraham Lincoln tried to become a businessman but failed miserably. Later because he was vigilant he became president. Winston Churchill failed the entrance exam twice to the Royal Military Academy, but eventually became Prime Minister. What about Peter of the Bible? People might remember Peter for sinking when he got out of the boat, or denying Christ three times. Jesus will remember him for having the faith to get out of the boat, and his determination to be a disciple to the very end.
The point is that it is easy to criticize someone when you are on the sideline. However, we need to stop and think, “What am I doing to help the situation?” Honestly, the answer is nothing a lot of times. Sometimes situations are hard, and you have to try to figure them out to the best of your ability. So if you are the person in the arena here are some encouraging words from the Word, “16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3:16-17 English Standard Version (ESV)
I am a huge football fan. On the movie Friday Night Lights the coach gives a speech about being perfect. People had been pretty hard on his team, and even his coaching. He said it’s not whether you win or loose, or what the scoreboard says, it’s about what is in your heart. It is about you, your relationship to your family, and your friends. That you can look them in the eye and tell them the truth, that in this moment you gave everything you had. You did the best you could. I am obviously paraphrasing so I am attaching the clip. I wonder if we could give the same account to God at this time in our life. Could we look him in the eye and tell him we have done everything in our power to share the gospel, to live as a witness, to sacrifice for his cause? Could we say we have given our very best in the moments we had? I think we would have to hang our head in shame because too many times we were not in the arena, but on the sidelines criticizing others. Are you willing to get into the arena no matter what the cost? God can use us in a mighty way, but only if we are willing to take the risk!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-iPiN_YHjY Watch this clip!!