Like many people, I grew up immersed in the world of Sports. Watching, reading about, and playing are all great enjoyment, but can quickly become all consuming. Sports has been an idol for me in the past and through the Holy Spirit I have been doing everything to keep it from becoming an idol again in the future, but that’s another post.
I played hockey growing up and I was constantly on teams that had a lot of fun. We played good, clean hockey, but we’d joke around like crazy. I remember joking before games that our motto was “Play Dirty, but don’t get caught.” It was a joke and we never took that motto seriously. We were kids, but kids that still understood what it means to be respectful of friends, parents, and each other. It was too outrageous for us to actually play that way.
Yet several years later, when I look at these professional athletes that kids look up to, I see this motto truly lived out. There are two things I’m going to address two athletes in this post, Ray Rice (And the NFL) and Chris Davis.
Earlier this week, a video came out that proved past allegations of Ray Rice beating his then fiance (now wife). The video is graphic and I wouldn’t recommend watching it. Shown in the video is Ray Rice punching his fiancee and knocking her out cold with one punch. The NFL suspended Ray Rice indefinitely after the video was released and the Baltimore Ravens (the team he played for) cut him from the team immediately. Now here’s where the story gets more interesting. The NFL had the video in hand months ago and chose not to act on what they saw. Although they deny this fact, both law enforcement officials and Ray Rice testify to this truth.
My thoughts on this story:
1. Ray Rice should be in jail. Not just suspended from the NFL. This is ridiculous.
2. The NFL is a joke. Obstruction of justice should put at least their commissioner, Roger Goodell, in jail. The league needs to seriously reconsider their priorities and their influence.
3. Who is Ray Rice? Where is his identity? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a09qdiTVFEY
That video was shot two years ago. What I see in that video is a man who has no foundation. He understands what he has heard, but doesn’t believe it. Other news came out immediately after the release of the video that he and his now wife, are born-again Christians. If this is the case, fruit will soon show. I am excited about the prospect of Ray Rice’s Christianity, but do not want to see him profane the name of Christ.
4. Pray for Ray Rice. That he would be repentant. For him to truly be humble. To take his proclaimed faith seriously and to be open with his story of reconciliation.
It was released today that Chris Davis has been caught using amphetamines, which is a violation of the MLB’s drug program. In essence, he cheated. He played dirty, and he got caught. Here’s what Chris Davis, an outspoken Christian ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bw_McWUr6hQ ), had to say about being suspended by Major League Baseball for 25 games.
“I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Orioles organization and especially the fans,” he said. “I made a mistake by taking Adderall. I had permission to use it in the past, but do not have a therapeutic use exemption this year. I accept my punishment and will begin serving my suspension immediately.” (via ESPN)
Chris Davis has shown humility and repentance, but what he did was still wrong. He is a Christian brother who needs his family to pray for him and for his future. Although he has ruined his integrity for the time being, this move just shows us how much greater God is than we are.
Humans fail and let people down, we see that in the story of Joseph (Genesis 40:23). These athletes that people look up to are just as sinful as we are. It is no surprise when a non-Christian beats somebody, cusses, steals, commits adultery, etc. Why? Because they are a slave to sin (John 8:34, Romans 6:15-23).
In light of all of this news and disappointment, I think Colossians 3 is a great application.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
–Andrew “A.J. Bessey
P.S. I wanted to share with you that as I was writing this post, I really wanted to come down with a hammer of justice on Ray Rice and Chris Davis. Yet what I found was the convicting presence of the Holy Spirit. That verse from Colossians (3:7) that says, “In these you too once walked” kept coming to mind. Oh how great is the mercy of God that I would be called His son and not be counted as the sinner I am. I’m committing to pray for these men who now have a great amount of negative media attention and I encourage you to do so as well.