What If YOU Played for the Ravens?

“We fix our eye on athletes and entertainers, watching every single move that they make. But we’re so quick to criticize the moment that they make a mistake. This is not who they are, not who they’re meant to be.” – B. Reith

Let me begin this by saying I honestly don’t have much of an opinion on the Ray Rice situation. While I will never condone physical violence in any relationship, I haven’t really probed deep into the issue for particular points or facts for the purpose of arguing, so I will not be splitting hairs over hearsay, rumor, or personal opinions. Let’s just settle from the onset that everyone is entitled to have one about Rice, his (now) wife and the NFL, but please keep them out of this blog’s comment section.

What is bothersome is the public’s readiness to hang athletes, entertainers, and celebrities out to dry for their mistakes and poor choices.

Mistakes are the unintentional errors committed by an individual, who, if they knew better, would do better. Bad choices are made when individuals either ignore the consequences or feel as though they aren’t applied to them. Which ever way you slice it, mistakes and bad choices can be avoided. Unfortunately, knowing better doesn’t always equal doing better.

There is not one person over the legal age in America, who doesn’t know that smoking is hazardous to your health; yet millions of cigarettes are sold everyday. There are countless doctors who will advise their patients to eat healthier, exercise and lose weight and not do it themselves. We all have standards that we ourselves keep inconsistently, because we are all flawed in some way. When we mess up, or fall short, we want people to “take it easy” on us, or “cut us some slack”. We will beg and plead for mercy, knowing full well we deserve the stiffest of punishments. However, as soon as someone with a life in the public eye does the same thing, we want to cry “bloody murder!”

Knowing better doesn’t always equal doing better, and just because someone has more to lose after screwing up, it doesn’t mean they won’t risk it all for a stupid decision. This concept isn’t new. Over 2000 years ago, early one morning, Jesus was teaching a crowd of eager listeners, when suddenly there was a naked woman thrown at His feet. She had been caught in the act of sexual indiscretion, for which the penalty was death by stoning. Knowing this was a matter of justice, some of the people asked Jesus what He thought should happen to the woman.  Jesus doesn’t say a word. He kneels down and begins to write in the sand.

Maybe Jesus began to write the other nine commandments, or perhaps he began to list the names of all the men that had been with this woman (who were probably watching this all transpire). While it is unclear what Jesus spells out, it is clear that it makes the one who questions angry, because they pushed the issue. With a crowd full of people holding stones, Jesus says, “Let any one of you who isn’t guilty of something, throw the first stone.” (John 8:7, D. Murph Translation).

By the end, the stones were back on the ground, because everyone has done something worth punishing. Jesus doesn’t gloss over her guilt, but He did extend grace and mercy to her. Giving grace doesn’t ignore the transgression, but it addresses it with love and tenderness that breaks and changes the heart.

So my question is simple. What if you played for the Ravens? What if TMZ had footage of what you did? What if your mistakes were on display? What if your poor choices were tried in the national court of public opinion? Would you want people to think and speak of you the way you are of Ray Rice?

© 2014 Team Murph Publishing/DJoaquin Publishing, All Rights Reserved

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