Michael Vick this morning:
“We all make mistakes. I made a mistake for using bad judgement and making bad decisions,” Vick said. “Dogfighting is a terrible thing and I didn’t reject it. … Through this situation I found Jesus and turned my life over to God.”
When I first heard about Vick and Jesus, I sighed. I did. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have but I did. I’m sure I’m not alone. It just seemed so very trite, so predictable, so manufactured, so lame. That’s what I thought. It is part of the whoring of Jesus’ name that is so common in our day. Yuck.
This is not good PR for Jesus. It would be much better if people said they were turning their lives over to Jesus while at the top. I mean a Nobel prize winner making that statement would be great PR for Jesus.
But then I paused and I thought and I prayed a little and I think my opinion is changing.
Good for Michael Vick. At least he didn’t say he was an addict and needed to go to rehab. At least he didn’t say he had been diagnosed with this or that and he was actually a victim in this whole horrible affair. Maybe his attorneys and PR people focus group tested those statements and saw they wouldn’t fly. Maybe they found Jesus to be his best defense. I don’t know. But maybe it is real. Maybe he has found Jesus, has decided to turn his life over, and is just like every other one of us – a really flawed piece of humanity in the process of being made more like Jesus.
All I know is that if Jesus wouldn’t reject him how could I? And that is the total truth isn’t it?
Jesus would never reject him. Jesus wouldn’t reject a dog slaughterer. Jesus wouldn’t reject a hypocrite. Jesus wouldn’t reject a liar or a murderer or an adulterer or a drunk or a rich man or a poor man or a gay man or a lesbian or a Democrat or a Republican or anyone else. Jesus is not in the business of rejecting those who are trying to follow him and are willing to have their lives transformed by him.
From the world’s perspective it is all madness of course. How can this be? How can he offer such immediate and total forgiveness? How is it that to call on Jesus and to confess all we have done wrong is to receive forgiveness? I don’t know but it is the faith that Jesus says is true.
Jesus makes it clear that he welcomes those who are sick – he says they are the ones that he came for. This is comforting to me because I am certainly much more like Mike Vick than a Nobel prize winner. It should be comforting to all of us.