Coach Jim Harbaugh teaching Jameis Winston a Biblical principle

Jameis Winston will probably be the #1 pick in next week’s NFL Draft. The biggest knock on him is his off-the-field behavior.

For example, Winston was issued a citation for shoplifting crab legs and crawfish about a year ago. What’s fascinating to me is how hesitant Jameis is to own any guilt. The truth is I’m just as hesitant. We all are.

In an episode of ESPN’s Draft Academy released this week, Winston met with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. As Jameis explains the shoplifting incident, Coach Harbaugh tells Jameis to just own it by admitting that he messed up. However, Jameis immediately responds, “But how am I supposed to handle it if someone gave them to me for free?” Jameis doesn’t want to own any part of the guilt. After all, there’s someone else to blame. Watch the 2-minute video below.

Heads-up: The language is censored but typical of “locker-room talk”.

The most captivating part of the interview is when Coach Harbaugh looks at him with a wrinkled brow and repeats to Jameis that he just needs to own it and admit that what he did was wrong. It seemed to frustrate Jim Harbaugh that Jameis didn’t get how obvious the solution is.

Own it

But it’s more complicated in Jameis’ mind. You see, someone at the store apparently offered to give him free food even though they may not have been authorized to do so. Therefore, Jameis fails to see his part in the incident because in his mind someone else is mostly responsible.

You will never confess your sins if you blame everything on someone else.

This isn’t unique to famous athletes. I know exactly how Jameis’ feels. It’s hard for me to own my part of my problems.

I instinctively argue, “It wasn’t my fault. It was their fault. They are to blame. They were wrong. All my friends agree with me.”

It’s easy to overlook the wrong we’ve done since our part feels minor compared to what they did. We’ll never confess our sins as long as we’re blaming everything on someone else.

“To make peace with your past, you need to own your piece of the past.” –Andy Stanley

Child abuse or unprovoked crimes are exceptions when the victim has no responsibility. But in most cases there is something we should own.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. -1 John 1:8-10

Here are a few examples:

  • He clearly mistreated you, but as you pause and look back, maybe people had advised you to beware of him.
  • She consistently demeaned and hurt you, looking back, maybe you kept answering her texts and letting her back into your life.
  • She seduced you, but as you pause and look back, maybe you stayed too long.
  • He stole from you, but in retrospect, maybe you rushed past all of the warning signs.

Your offender is wrong for what he or she did. Owning your part doesn’t make your offender any less guilty, but it will free your future.

Owning your part will take humility and courage. Ask a trusted friend if they see any part of your past that you have yet to own. Resist being defensive. Then humbly thank them for loving you enough to share hard truths.

It’s time to OWN IT. You may not be the #1 pick in the NFL Draft but you can experience something even better: a peaceful heart.

Pick up your copy of STUCK When You Want to Forgive but Don’t Know How by clicking below:


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