Friday, August 14, 2009

Michael Vick & Us

Trust me, I have never been a real Michael Vick fan. I detest Virginia Tech football, and when the highly-touted Vick chose to go there to college, it just gave me more reason. I thought that Vick was a pampered athlete, probably all through his athletic life - always praised, never corrected, never disciplined. I imagine when he went off to Tech he was given star treatment. Do we really think that super-stud athletes are held to the same standards (academic and otherwise) as every other student?

When he went off to the NFL, now, in my thinking, he became a rich thug. Flipping off the fans, going through airports with stash pot and being let go, but hey everyone was buying his jersey and the Georgia Dome was packed on Sundays -- whose gonna mess that up with accountability?

Then, as always, one's sin finds you out. (Just ask Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino.) He was convicted of the horrible crime of cruelty, systematic cruelty, to animals. This time he would pay for his actions.

Now he has served his time. He has apologized. He has re-signed to play again in the NFL. Many are outraged, saying he should not be allowed to play. That the Eagles are sick to sign him and so forth and so on. No, I do not relish seeing him play football again in the NFL - but not because of his crime. He will have it hard -- especially when he goes to a rival stadium -- and with the media. I wouldn't want to be him.

This has me thinking -- what about when folks come into our church, folks with a past. Especially in a small community where everybody knows everybody, and all that everybody has done. When they come in, we stare and talk and whisper and get on the phone and talk some more -- "you wouldn't believe WHO was in church yesterday!"

What if that person is really sorry for what they have done in the past and they are trying to start over? What if they have repented and trusted Christ for forgiveness? Why do we make it hard on them? Where would ANY of US be were it not for Jesus? Where is the humility in the body of Christ? Don't WE ALL deserve hell? Where would we be if not for God's amazing grace that saves wretches like me?

I pray that the Christian church, including my own, will be a place of refuge for sinners needing forgiveness and life. It is the sick that need healing, not the well.

I think instead of condemning Michael Vick, I will pray for him. I will pray for Tony Dungy who continues to work with Vick. And I will pray that Michael Vick will be surrounded by Christians - you know, "little Christs" who will love him.

I will also pray for churches, that we will love sinners the way Jesus has loved us.


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