We Root for Humility and Honesty

Posted: January 6, 2011 in Uncategorized
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This morning The Today show had Ted Williams on their morning program (you have to watch it and can find it here!).  I smiled so big watching it that my 9 – year old daughter even giggled at me.  I love this man.  I have no idea how this story will end (I hope amazingly) – but at this moment I am excited about what is happening for him.

You’ve probably seen his story which has gone viral in the past two days.  Three days ago he was literally panhandling as a homeless man on the streets of Columbus, OH.  As of today, he has been on The Today show, CNN, Jimmy Kimmel Live, CBS Morning News, etc.  He has been offered dozens of jobs, including with the Cleveland Cavaliers as a voiceover/announcer.  He was offered a mortgage.  His story is phenomenal.  When he talks…he talks with humility, transparency, and a gentle and kind spirit.

And that is why he is loved.  In the initial viral video he was humble and honest enough to admit that alcohol and drugs along with other things (such as fraud and theft to support his drug habit) had gotten a hold of his life (although he is now 2 years sober).  It wasn’t long, but he took responsibility for his actions and following consequences in life.  He didn’t blame society, the government, the system, the corporations, his mother, etc.  He wasn’t angry.  He didn’t come across as entitled.  He was humble and he was honest.

And EVERYONE loves to root for the person who is humble and honest.  What is ironic is that when we are caught, or down in out, or in trouble, or in anxiety – honesty and humility are not our instinctive impulse.  Typically, we move to blame and lying.  This tactic began in the garden of Eden and continues today.  It isn’t my fault.  Someone else is to blame.  And when that happens, it turns the hearts of others against us (it was a stupid defensive mechanism from the beginning that NEVER ends up working).

And so when you see someone who is humble and honest – everything in you desires for them to have a second chance.  I think God feels the exact same way.

Proverbs 29:23 – A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.

  1. david says:

    I have loved watching this story of redemption unfold.

  2. Jim says:

    I loved the Columbus Dispatch video. As a former radio disk jockey, you’d better believe I was rooting for this fellow. He has amazing “pipes,” as we call it in the biz.

    But now I’m concerned that he is getting too much, too fast, and that he won’t be able to handle it.

    Before my congregation became homeless, we owned a 2000-sq-ft house. It was on our church property. We used it as kind of a ministry, letting people down on their luck live there to get back on their feet. I lived in it for more than a year during and after my divorce. But 9 times out of 10, this ended up not really helping them. I remember one family badly damaged by drug abuse who moved in. It did help stabilize them initially. But soon they were very comfortable in that house. It oversatisfied their hunger. It killed any impetus they had to make their lives better. Soon, the drugs returned. It ended badly.

    That story is typical of the people who passed through that house. You could argue they needed more than that house — they needed strong coaching and mentoring, and they needed there to be the usual strong natural consequences for bad choices. We weren’t really able to do these things as a congregation for these people.

    I’m delighted to see Ted Williams so clearly enjoying his glorious moment in the sun. I am worried, however, that when the rush is over, he will lack what it takes to make it. He talks a good game, and I believe he means every word of it. The families who moved into our house did, too. But when you’re coming from a position as challenging as Ted’s, my experience has been that people who (a) have good, qualified support systems and (b) work hard and earn their way incrementally have the best shot at making it.

    I want Ted Williams to win. I hope he came to this moment with the drive and ability to make it. Or I hope that he’s being given more than a job and a house, but is also being given the necessary support to handle it all.

  3. Jim – TOTALLY agree. How do you go from being homeless one minute to a national internet sensation!! He had to get his own agent for goodness sake!!! Given his challenges from the past, which you illustrate perfectly with the house the church used – I REALLY hope it in the end doesn’t overwhelm him and crush him. What a sad story this would be in a year if that would of happened.

  4. […] As a former radio disk jockey, I love to hear Ted Williams talk. He has amazing “pipes,” as they say in the biz. But it’s not just his golden voice that makes people root for him. It is his honesty and gentle humility. The moment he admits, with a note of regret in his voice, his drug and alcohol problems and that he’s been clean for two years is the moment we start to care about him. We want to see him use his voice talent to succeed. The opportunities he has been offered – jobs and even mortgages – demonstrate that. (Blogger and pastor Sam Barrington explores this further. Check it out.) […]

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