Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Don't Hate the Player, Hate the Game
To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Proverbs 8:13
No one really seems to know the origin of the statement, "Don't hate the player, hate the game." Most sources associate the phrase with 20th Century Hip-Hop culture. My best guess is it was first uttered by a basketball player talking smack to a defeated opponent. In fact, the first time I heard it was on the basketball court from a person who had just made me look completely foolish (or as my son would say, "his moves were sick"). The phrase oozed with cockiness and arrogance. It was clear to me that this player believed himself to be far superior to me in his skill at the game of basketball. It didn't make me feel any better about myself to wrestle with the thought that he was right.
A common understanding of the phrase is that frustrations with a system or activity should be blamed on its weaknesses rather than individuals who operate within the system. It kind of has a biblical ring to it—although it really didn't feel biblical when my pal on the court said it to me. But the reality is, we are not supposed to hate the sinner, just the sin. When we fear the Lord, we will hate evil (sin). Among the sins God hates the most are pride and arrogance. Ironically, these are the "sick" games most commonly played in our spiritual lives.