Summary: What can we learn when a role model falls? How can we avoid the same in our lives

Where have all the good role models gone? From accusations of questionable moral behavior for Alabama coach Mike Price who was thought to have a squeaky clean record to the recent accusations of rape against LA Lakers star Kobe Bryant, it seems role models have hit the skids. Kobe will have his day in court to defend the charges of rape brought against him but he has acknowledged a lapse in his moral behavior. Temptation, offered, accepted, and found out, now with a price to be paid.

Kobe Bryant, although in the spotlight because of his athletic ability, a high school basketball standout who by-passed college to play with the elite in basketball on the professional level, was not exempt from the temptations of the world. And neither are we. Although probably not bombarded by the sport groupies who throw themselves at athletes because of their status, thus creating an environment of temptation for those who are on the road competing as much it seems as they are at home, you and I face our own set of temptations.

It might not be the lure of sex bring temptation. There are other tempting things which come our way. The temptation of money which causes people to cut corners, to get involved with insider trading, or to justify other forms of illegal activity for financial gain. The temptation to steal at work, after all, you work hard and you justify the thievery because they don’t pay what you think you are worth. There is also the temptation of illegal substances, drugs, or becoming intoxicated. The temptation to lie, to falsify ones past to improve your current image. And on and on I could go. I think you get the point.

What can we learn from Kobe Bryant that can help us make it through the maze of temptation so our world does not come crashing down around us? Let me share some thoughts on How to handle temptation.

1. Be prepared to be Tempted.

The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared.” This time of year, with the warm weather, we read a lot of boating deaths because someone has fallen overboard unprepared. Never took the time to wear a life jacket, didn’t see the need, until it was too late. How often do we think, that will never happen to me?

Listen to this verse in the Message: Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence. (1 Corinthians 10:12).

In a Frank and Earnest cartoon, the two characters are standing before a priest and Frank asks, “How come opportunity knocks once, but temptation beats at my door everyday?”

Temptation is going to come knocking, you can count on it. Being prepared, acknowledging the fact it will come knocking, will help you keep the door shut when you hear that knock. Sticking you head in the stand and thinking it is not there will eventually kill you.

I don’t know much about Kobe Bryant. The games I have seen him play, the press I have read, the quotes attributed to him. I do know this, he did not anticipate temptation coming his way, for if he had, he would not be a sermon illustration today.

He could have even taken the advice given in one of his commercials for McDonalds. You might have seen it. He was recruited by a bunch of little kids to join their team in a playground basketball game. A kids tells Kobe that if they win, they get to go to McDonalds. At the end of the commercial, the kid says to him, “So don’t blow it.”

What do we do if we do blow it?

2. Acknowledge our Responsibility

Right after the charges were filed, Kobe was quoted in the LA Times as having said, “You know me. You know I’d never do anything like that.” In a press conference with his wife Vanessa sitting with him, he said, “I didn’t force her to do anything against her will. I’m innocent. I sit here in front of you guys furious at myself, disgusted at myself for making the mistake of adultery. I love my wife with all my heart. She’s my backbone.”

Fortunately in America, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the courts will decide his guilt or innocence pertaining to the rape charge. He did give into temptation, he did commit an offense against his wife in the form of adultery. Though I am unclear what he meant by saying at first, you know me, I would never do anything like that. Did he mean having sex outside of marriage, violating his vows with his wife, or did he mean the rape, or did he mean both. Has he acknowledged his responsibility out of remorse, or because he was caught? Time will tell.

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