The Perils of Worshiping a King

By Nancy Virden (c)2020

When LeBron James first left Cleveland, the city went bonkers. One teenage fan drew devil horns on his LeBron cardboard cut-out and scribbled out his face. This mirrored the anger and disgust of Northeast Ohio.

One woman said,” We made him a god, and now we hate the god that didn’t perform up to our standards.”

As a Clevelander, I witnessed the worship of King James, as he was called, close-up. He was bigger than the Cavs, greater than basketball. He was our city’s identity and meaning. People lived vicariously through him. He gave residents something to brag about and call their own. He was a god, until he wasn’t.

Love-hate relationships are found within families, between authority figures and laypersons, and idols and worshipers. Simplistically,:

Person #1 holds expectations for person #2.

Person #2 fails to meet those expectations

Person #1 is disappointed.

Our reaction to these disappointments is what determines hate versus love. Love continues through pain, looking out for the best interests of the one who let us down. Love looks at our motives and changes our selfishness into something more patient and less demanding.

Hate says, “You failed me. I hurt. My hurt matters more than you. I will stop my hurt by lashing out.”

That was Cleveland’s response to James. That is, until he came back and won a championship for us. Once again in our good graces, he chose to leave a second time. Cleveland felt its renewed disappointment with fondness and well wishes. The different reaction was due to one thing only- our king had met our expectations for him.

In this election, so much vitriol and close-mindedness on both sides has hurt our nation. Polite political conversation ended decades ago, but hate this time was palpable. Will we get over ourselves?

America is more than one president-king. It is more than one party-kingdom’s ideals. Catch words like tolerance, rights, good, and evil, set aflame emotions connected to our expectations and disappointments. It is every adult’s responsibility to control one’s emotions.

Will we hate? Will we mend? Will we stick to our thoughtful and fact-filled convictions without despising those whose thoughtful and fact-filled convictions lead them to a different conclusion?

Will we stop calling each other stupid and unthinking?

The freedom we enjoy in this country is deeper than freedom of speech. It is freedom of thought. The battle between would-be kings is essentially over except for reverberating echoes of anger and mistrust. These will fade to the background between the two men. Will we allow it to fade between us?

Today’s Helpful Word

LUKE 6:27-28

 “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.  Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.” -Jesus

Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.


NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188, per BibLe Gateway. All rights reserved. Retrieved from

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