Give Hue A Hug


Joy Is An Attitude One Adopts

by Eric Elkin

Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
— Psalm 25: 6

In 1978, singer, songwriter, Alex Bevan released a song called, Have Another Laugh on Cleveland Blues. It became quite a popular hit in Northeast Ohio. The city was in the midst of a colorful and sad period in its history. Only a few years earlier the Cuyahoga River caught on fire, now the steel and car industries were collapsing, and the city declared bankruptcy. We were the laughing stock of the nation. So Bevan thought, why not laugh at ourselves?

Bevan asks what would you expect from a city whose signature building was called Terminal Tower, and it looks over a lake called Erie. The dismal performance of the sports teams added to the gloominess. Sportswriters called the city, The Mistake on the Lake. The recent performance of the Cleveland Browns has led fans to rename the football stadium, “the factory of sadness.”

This year, the Cleveland Browns might just be the source of a great Advent sermon. Fans who have dwelled in darkness, waiting for some sign of hope have seen a light emerging on the North Shore. A possible savior has appeared, and we fans of the Browns wait in eager expectation. Yes, Jesus is our savior, but right now, we need a quarterback. The hope of a long-suffering city has been placed on the shoulders of Baker Mayfield.

Consequently, most of us really exist at the mercy of other people’s formulations of what’s important.
— June Jordan

Baker Mayfield was the focus of sports talks shows this past week. He led the Browns to a victory over the inner-state rival Cincinnati Bengals. More importantly, he defeated the new team of the Browns recently fired head coach, Hue Jackson.

In typical Cleveland fashion, though, the discussion was not on the victory, but a controversy at the end of the game. While crossing the field to shake hands, Hue Jackson approached Baker Mayfield to give him a hug. Baker Mayfield backed off, shook his hand and walked away. It was a rather cold gesture for the man who gave Mayfield the starting job. 

When asked about the exchange in the press conference, Mayfield made it quite clear he did not appreciate his former coach going to a rival team. The pastor in me thought, “Can’t we all just get along?” But the fan in me said, “Yes!! This is why I like Baker Mayfield. No hug for you, Hue!” 

Sports commentators were the spiritual voices emerging in the aftermath of the event. They called for Baker Mayfield to have mercy on his former coach. Hue Jackson was 3-36-1 as a head coach. That may be the worst record of all-time for any head coach. Who is going to hire him? Their words made me think about these words from the psalmist, “Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord.” How often in your life have you made the same request?

This psalm should speak to the soul of every Cleveland Browns fan. We have a choice about how to view Hue Jackson. He could be a new line in Have Another Laugh On Cleveland Blues. I mean, how funny is it that the worst coach in team history is a man named, Hue, for a team whose nickname is a color? Or, we can be mindful of God’s mercy, give Hue a hug and move on in hope. 

Even if you are not a Cleveland Browns fan, there is a Hue Jackson and Baker Mayfield encounter somewhere in your life. How we react to it says something about us. In the Old Testament, joy is an attitude one adopts based on the hope that God delivers on promises made. Let’s give Hue a hug and adopt an attitude of joy.


Click to read Psalm 25: 1-10

Reflection Questions:

  • Where do you want someone to extend mercy to you?

  • Who is seeking for you to be mindful of mercy?

  • What does mercy look like in these situations?

  • How can you adopt an attitude of joy?

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