Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ray Lewis, redemption & the rest of us

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is an enigma for much the media and football fans.

He is a violent and intimidating defender on the football field, but he has been involved in numerous off the field charitable activities for those in need in the Baltimore area.

Along with two companions, Lewis was charged with murder after two people were stabbed to death in 2000, but he has been quoting Scripture after games and his faith has been profiled by numerous media outlets.

While many have become enamored with the linebacker's story, others have become wary of any life change and weary of granting Lewis the status as some spiritual leader.

Suddenly, Ray Lewis has become fodder for a national conversation on redemption.

Photo from The Washington Post
Sports radio can be ... interesting. Often times, hosts attempt to be as controversial as possible believing that will bring in listeners and ad revenue.

Some have intelligent discussion on athletics in America. Others are little more than shock jocks with a limited focus. So it was not much of a surprise when I heard one host pushing the envelope on the Ray Lewis story.

The host was upset that Lewis had morphed into a religious figure despite his checkered, to say the least, past. He did not believe the former player for the infamous, in terms of brashness and rule violation, University of Miami warranted what he perceived to be glowing media coverage.

As he was closing out his rant to head to commercial break, he uttered something which struck me as much more revealing than the host was attempting to be. He yelled into his microphone:
"Maybe if you didn't kill two people, you wouldn't need a redemption story."
There it was. Lewis needed redemption because he was involved in a fight that resulted in the death of two people.

How dare Lewis speak anything about God or grace or glory when his past had this possible dark side? Lewis should spend the rest of his life atoning for his sins, whatever they may have been.

I'm guessing the radio host is morally perfect, right?

I don't know what Lewis did or didn't do on that fateful January night in 2000. For that matter, I have no idea what the host was doing that night or any other night.

What I do know is that Ray Lewis did indeed need redemption, but so did the radio host, and so did you and I. In fact Ray Lewis, the radio host, you and I still need redemption.

Every one of us needs a redemption story. It may not involving being redeemed from life as an accused murderer, but none of that changes our need for redemption.

As one who hunted Christians down and murdered them, Saul needed redemption, but his need was no greater than Lydia who was a wealthy, influential business women.

Matthew was a despised tax collector before he became a disciple, but he didn't need Christ any more than Peter who was a common fisherman.

When the standard is perfect, none of us measure up. When the gap between us and God is so great, everyone falls short.

We all need a redemption story – Ray Lewis, the radio host and the rest of us.

No comments:

Post a Comment