Five posters, at least a dozen figurines, stickers, magazines, videos, television specials… you name it, I had it. We all have our childhood heroes. Some people have princesses or superheroes. I had Sting – a face-painted, hardcore professional WCW wrestler. Clad in a black trench coat, he often dropped down from the ceiling, armed with a baseball bat. He was sometimes silent, sometimes extremely vocal, and always had a penetrating glare. I loved him. I always felt safer at night with his picture on my wall, and if you go into my room in PA, his poster still proudly hangs above my bed.
Heartbroken when he left the ring, a pre-teen version of me hoped that a newly acquired birthday gift would shed some light on his retirement. As I pressed play on the VCR, I anxiously listened to his biography, waiting to hear why he abandoned me and his millions of fans. Finally the line came, to paraphrase, “In 1998, I found Jesus and had to take a sabbatical…”
My jaw dropped. Sting is a Christian?!? Not only a Christian, but a self proclaimed “born again” Christian- the kind my momma warned me about. I ran into the next room “Mummy, you will never believe this… Sting quit because he says he was born again and that he needs to talk with Jesus about his career”. “Great Kera, your buddy has become another one of those Jesus freaks… that’s disappointing.” I didn’t know what to think… but I knew that I was done watching wrestling because it wasn’t the same without him.
It amuses me now. My hero left wrestling to preach. True story. He made a return to the arena a few years ago under the same character, but I was never interested enough to follow his comeback. His biography still says that he is a born-again Christian, of the pentecostal persuasion… his home church is affiliated with the Assemblies of God.
Under the heading of Luke 15:24 “He was lost & is found again”, his biography on his website reads: “Now Sting is a born-again Christian with a passion for others to know Christ as their personal savior. Steve “Sting” Borden often speaks at churches, conferences, and appears on TBN [wrestling circuit] to share his testimony to the world. Sting is often heard quoting 2 Corinthians 7:10, ” For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.“
For some odd reason, as I was sharing my testimony over coffee with a new friend this morning, my mind flash backed to praying in my room and the Sting portrait on my wall. So I Googled his name, and discovered that he wrote a memoir detailing his journey with God, and I definitely just ordered it. Look forward to a book review when I find out how Jesus changed the heart of my childhood hero.