NFL star Ben Roethlisberger is speaking out about renewing his faith. The 6-time pro bowler is opening up about giving his life to Christ and overcoming past addictions to alcohol and pornography.
The 38-year-old father of three spoke out on Saturday during a virtual conference called ManUp Pittsburgh. The Christian organization, Urban Impact, hosts the gathering alongside Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin.
Earlier this year, Roethlisberger admitted to previous addictions. He explained the impact those addictions caused in his personal life. Roethlisberger says, “I’ve fallen as short as anybody. I’ve been addicted to alcohol. I’ve been addicted to pornography, which makes me then not the best husband, not the best father, not the best Christian I can be.”
The 2-time Super Bowl champ encouraged men to “dedicate” themselves to beating their personal demons. “You have to understand that you can get out of it because of the grace of God and Him saying, ‘Listen, you are good enough for me the way you are,’” Roethlisberger said.
Ben Roethlisberger on His Faith in College and the NFL
When he left for college, Roethlisberger says he wishes he was stronger in his faith at the time. “It wasn’t like I stopped believing, but you’re not sharpening your skills, you are not reading the Bible,” he said. “I’m still praying here and there, but I wasn’t as strong of a Christian in college as I wish I would have been, like my wife was. I am jealous of her that she was so devout in college.”
Roethlisberger says the struggles continued upon entering the NFL. “Then when you get to the NFL, the same thing happens,” he said. “You go to a new city and now there is this new fame and all these things are coming at you.”
Part of renewing his faith included getting baptized for the second time. “I got baptized as a baby but I didn’t make that decision. I just felt that I needed to do that.” He continued by adding: “I wanted to have a closer walk, a better relationship with Jesus, with my wife, with my kids, my family, become a better person.”
Roethlisberger Credits Jesus for Making Him a Better Husband and Father
In addition to marrying his wife, Ashley Harlan, in 2011, Roethlisberger says his renewed faith in Christ changed his heart. “Jesus is the one that brought me back to Him,” he said. “I am so thankful for it because I feel I am a better Christian, and a better husband and a better father today because of His forgiveness of me.”
Most know Roethlisberger for his excellence on the football field. However, he says his goal is to push himself in his faith even more than in football. “I push myself every day to do that and it starts here [in the Bible]’. It’s not always easy. People don’t realize all the time that us athletes, we’re human,” he said. Roethlisberger concluded by saying, “We sin like everyone else. We make mistakes. We get addicted to things,” he said.
[H/T Christian Post]