What we learn from Aqib Talib about love

Tampa Bay, and probably soon to be former (once the lockout ends) Tampa Bay Buccaneer defensive back Aqib Talib, is in a bit of trouble. Shooting guns at people in suburbia doesn’t usually pass for good behavior. Of course Talib denies ever firing shots at his sister’s ex-boyfriend; his Mom did all the firing. At least that’s his excuse. Wonder why more people don’t use the “my mom was the one who fired the gun excuse?” Probably because of the plausibility factor, but that’s only speculation.
You may have heard of the sins of the father being passed down, but here’s a snapshot of the affect of the sins of the mother. The article chronicles Talib’s violent behavior over the years and the influence his mother clearly had on him. How many guys have had their moms spend 8 months in prison for stabbing someone over an unpaid debt when you’re 10 years old? Of course that’s not an excuse to hit a helpless cab driver, or attack a teammate using a helmet as a weapon, both of which occurred after the Bucs drafted him in 2008.
The article suggests Talib clearly needs to separate himself from his family. That would be a tough one to argue against, and if guilty of firing shots, law enforcement will “help” him out there.
Seems like an ethical dilemma: do I break ties, at least for a season with my family or continue to hang out with them, ignoring their harmful influence on me? Is it loving toward my children (I think it mentions he has two of them) to bring them around Grandma, when she has no problem hurting people?
Two thoughts:
1.) The reality is that Jesus requires our ultimate allegiance, and there will be times when following him will look unloving toward your family. That sounds crazy in suburbia, but that’s only because our children are our idols. It’s really not that crazy if you think about it. So whether you choose separation or healthy boundaries, allegiance to Jesus may necessitate a drastic action if bad company is truly corrupting your faith (I Cor 15:33). Such action might be necessary regardless of how it is interpreted by your family.
2.) For Talib to love his children, and that usually means doing your best to stay out of prison, he might need to break ties with Momma Talib. So then is he not loving Momma, loving her less, or loving her in the way she needs it? I would probably go with the latter, without letting myself off the hook.
My wife and I have discussed this ethical dilemma, though not in relation our Mom’s, as neither of ours own guns to our knowledge. But there are times when we have to make choices of how we love others and even at times who we love. Because when you consciously choose to love with actions and in truth, not just with words (I John 3:17), you are at the same moment, not actively loving someone else. For instance when we spend time with someone, or give to someone or some ministry in need, you are choosing not to love someone else. And that’s OK. You just can’t actively love everyone and don’t need to feel bad about it.
The problem occurs when we fall back to our normal default mode of loving those we like, who we are like, or who like us (Tim Keller). When those become the sole parameters of who we choose to love, then it is not OK.

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