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Brian Roberts first accepted Christ as a 12-year old at a church revival, but it was his freshman year in college while on Christmas break when A.C. Green’s autobiography (a gift from his mother) inspired him to get serious about his faith.
Now, the Baltimore Orioles second baseman wants to do his part to share that message with baseball fans everywhere as a walking example of God’s grace. In this interview, Roberts talks about trusting in God, his role as a Christian athlete and how his brush with steroids has been used for good:
Chad Bonham: What Bible principle has been most important to you as a baseball player?
Brian Roberts: Proverbs 3:5-6. Baseball is so up and down. It’s such a game of failure. You go through injuries. You go through all sorts of bad stuff.
Bonham: How would you define your role as a Christian athlete?
Roberts: We have a major role. I don’t care who you are. I think God has put you in your position to have an impact eternally more so than anything. A lot of times athletes can get caught up in what’s going on with the game, contracts, money, all that sort of stuff. But I truly believe that the only reason I’m here, the only reason I’m playing baseball is to have an impact for Christ. I can’t imagine why else I would be here. I really don’t have any other reason to be in the place that I am. Nothing logically says I should be here. It just doesn’t make sense. I think it comes out in different ways for people. I’ve never had the type of personality that would make me go out on the street corner and evangelize but I believe that through actions and through living out my faith on a daily basis, that’s how God uses me more than anything. I try to let people know that there is more to my life than baseball. Whether that’s through charity events, speaking engagements or just living it out in front of my teammates, there are so many ways that I can be used.
Bonham: When your name was mentioned in the Mitchell Report and you were linked to steroid use, how did that impact your Christian witness?
Roberts: (God has) definitely used it already in a lot of ways. For one, I’ve seen that if you don’t keep your focus on God and living your life for God, you can easily fall into the temptations of this world. Personally, that has really resonated within me. I’ve realized that we are sinners and we can fall very quickly into the ways of the world if we don’t keep our focus on Him. I understand that we are role models and I understand that people do look up to us. A lot of people would love to be in that spot, but I also people to realize that they shouldn’t put us on a pedestal and think that we’re perfect. We’re far from it. We’re humans and we fail and we fall short just like everyone else. It’s just that our failures get splattered all over the Internet and ESPN. The lesson really is how you come through that and how you handle those situations. As I have the opportunity to speak to young people about the negative things that are out there—not just steroids—I want to make sure they know how easy it is to fall into some bad situations. The choices that you make will eventually come out. They’ll eventually be seen. What’s going to keep you from doing that? The only thing I can see is your relationship with Christ.
Bonham: How important is accountability with other Christians?
Roberts: All too often we get caught up in judging others and we can be short on grace and mercy. You do need biblical correction sometimes and you do need accountability and you do need people to guide you and meet you in a way that will keep you from doing the wrong things over and over again. But you also need those people within the Christian community that will pick you up and show you how to turn these mistakes into something that can be used for good. If you’re a Christian, you are held to a higher standard. That’s what Christ laid out for us. But when we make mistakes and fall into sin, the Bible calls for restoration. It calls for change in your life.