After winning a championship with the Lakers, in 2011, he legally changed his name to Metta World Peace (“Metta” is a traditional Buddhist word that means loving kindness and friendliness towards all). "Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world," according to his official statement. Sounds like an interesting story of a man overcoming setbacks and turning from bad to good, right?
Except Metta, just last week in a Lakers-Thunder game, elbowed opponent James Harden in the head hard, causing a concussion and endangering a fellow players health (concussions can cause long-term problems). The blow was delivered after Metta was celebrating a dunk, and he claims that it was accidental. The NBA league office seems to have disagreed and suspended him for seven games.
The irony of having a person with violent tendencies name “World Peace”! Although I watched the replays and the elbow didn’t seem like an accident to me, I can’t judge a man’s intentions, so I’m not sure if it was intentional or not. I am, however reminded of Romans 7:18-19.
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
We try so hard to be “good” on our own efforts and by “sheer force of will.” It may work for a short period of time, but in the end, our own sinful nature prevails. People think they are “free” when in fact they are enslaved to sin—they can’t not sin! No amount of therapy, meditation, penitence, and doing good works will allow us to overcome our natural inclination for sin.
So how do we become good? We don’t do it on our own efforts; Jesus does it for us!
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
(1 Peter 2:24 ESV)
When you become a Christian, you have a new nature. You’re free from your old sinful nature.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
(2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)
Man can’t achieve inner peace on his own, let alone “world peace.” The only way to true peace is the Prince of Peace!