Prayer, Plain and Simple

Disgraced ex-baseball star Mark McGwire finally sobbed out his steroid confession yesterday. No one was the least surprised; no one should be the least bit impressed.


I once cheered for McGwire who hit 583 career home runs with Oakland and St. Louis, and is best known for his 1998 record-breaking home run duel with Sammy Sosa (also a steroid customer) by hitting 70. Today, I’m cynical. Yes, try again, Mr. McGwire.


I’m not the least bit impressed with McGwire’s efforts at PR rehabilitation. Confession is one thing, repentance and honestly “facing the music” is quite another. While I cannot judge another man’s heart, I can hear and understand plain English. “Big Mac” added a revealing caveat to his seemingly obligatory exercise in public remorse that leaves no doubt: His tears are more about regret at being caught than admitting deception and culpability in the trauma he has caused the little boys game he got paid a fortune to play, not to mention the devastation his actions have had on the imagination of all of us “little boys” who played the sucker for his feats.


Specifically McGuire lives in denial: When asked if he could have still hit 70 homeruns in 1998 without the help of steroids he answered – with a straight face, “Absolutely. Look at my track record as far as hitting home runs. They still talk about home runs I hit in high school. I was given the gift to hit home runs.”


“Absolutely?” Are you kidding? That’s the whole point Mr. McGuire. You took these drugs to cheat an advantage. And now you still have the nerve to ask us to give legitimacy to your career? It will never happen. Let that fantasy go. The first step to your redemption, which now will have to be outside of baseball is to come clear and clean about the consequences of actions.


For those who believe they must and can “repair” their own damages, real redemption is impossible. While we continue to insist on casting ourselves in the best light possible and trodding the well worn path of restoration laid out by public relations experts, we’re still doomed and don’t know it That pattern is all too familiar. Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson, Koby Bryant and many other tainted “stars” have walked the course of public remorse, with a caveat to save just a bit of face. It’s never fully worked…


So try again Mr. McGuire. It’s all or nothing. Only when you go low to the level of total brokenness is your redemption possible. Only at the point where you save no sliver of self respect and cry for help – grace – from the only One at this point who can and will lift you up, can you hope to recover a glory, this time a glory not your own.


That’s my prayer for you.


I’ve written about my own experience with brokenness and repentance in my latest book, “The Karma of Jesus.” Yes Big Mac there is redemption, but it won’t come through drumming up your own efforts at good Karma. It will only come through seeking help from the outside…

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