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Federer the Nice Guy?

Published on July 17, 2017 | By
Roger Federer won his record eighth Wimbledon title on Sunday (the most by a male player), becoming the oldest male champion at almost 36 years of age.  This was the second time in his career that he won a Grand Slam without losing a set, and his win gives him 93 total career titles, including 19 Grand Slams. There is no question he’s one of the greatest tennis players of all time, and it’s remarkable that he continues to get it done at this stage of his career. He’s talented, likable, and recognizable for his gracious attitude and demeanor. Jacob Steinberg, from theGuardian.com, wrote an article after the semi-finals about his personality traits on and off the court. This is what he had to say: “Everyone thinks that Federer is a nice guy. Not with a racket in his hand, though. The contradiction at play is the gentlemanly air masking the ruthlessness and resilience that maintain his enduring greatness. "Watching Federer is fun, but sharing a court with him is one of the most galling experiences imaginable. Berdych hit 31 winners, 22 fewer than Federer, who won because of his killer instinct in the big moments, his willingness to aim for the lines with every shot, to save a break point with an ace.” Sports fans can have a tough time reconciling the dynamic of athletes being nice and having good sportsmanship versus being resilient and dominant with a strong killer instinct. We tend to detach one from the other and think athletes who are nice are weak...or players who are humble and meek are somehow not as competitive or tough. With Federer, it’s easy to see how someone can be talented and great while also being nice and humble. In our own lives, we can struggle with a similar dynamic when it comes to being kind, patient, and meek, while remaining strong, powerful, and resilient. I would argue that followers of Jesus should represent all of those characteristics as the Holy Spirit works within us. Our submission to God doesn’t make us weak, but instead makes us very strong. We can be kind, but not let people walk all over us. We have the power of Christ to combine humility with strength. Joshua 1:9 ESV reminds us, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Titus 3:2 (ESV) also tells us "to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people." And Ephesians 6:10 ESV encourages us to “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Today let’s embrace being nice and kind to all people, while remaining strong, resilient, and powerful because of Christ in us...and the victory we’ve already experienced through Him. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that! PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I desire to be like Jesus, and ask that You help me to understand how to be both meek and strong, as well as, kind and resilient. I pray I wouldn’t view humility or niceness as weakness, but instead desire to represent both to others. I thank you for Your power inside me to do so. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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