I do not care for football. I don't watch it. I don't pretend to understand it. And really if I were queen of the world I'd eliminate American Football from the face of the earth. Despite my disinterest, I can't seem to escape the story of Ray Rice, a local (Baltimore Ravens) football player who knocked out his wife (then fiancee) in a hotel elevator. The response from the media has been one of shock and outrage. The news cycle doesn't seem to be done with the story, because an indefinite suspension, doesn't appear to be enough for the masses. Hopefully, the cycle will move towards redemption, for both Ray and Janay Rice, but right now I'm not hearing much about redemption.
What I am hearing is punishment and anger. The anger is justified and understandable. Punishment, necessary. Unfortunately, it has resulted in the NFL throwing both Ray and his wife out into the cold. What they need is love, paths towards forgiveness and redemption. What would have been nice, would have been for the NFL to suspend Rice for say a season, AND provide marriage/family counseling and anger management to the couple, to wrap their arms around this family and say, "we abhor what you (Ray) did and what we saw, but we want you to be a better man and a stronger woman, and we want to walk with you to that better place." But no, that's not what the masses want.
Thankfully, our Lord and Father is not the NFL. He offers redemption and forgiveness because he knows we are royal screw-ups deeply in need of both. I have seen G-d redeem my father, who was an angry drunk and abusive husband. When I doubt the Lord, I remember the miracle he worked in my parents' life how he brought back to life the dry bones of a marriage of 30 years after 10 years of divorce. No human could have brought forth that, no human (not his family nor friends) convinced my father to stop drinking and to heal whatever pain he was trying to self-medicate.
Our Lord has redeemed thieves, murderers, and the like. He redeemed Saul, a man who sought to eliminate early Christians, we know him as Paul, author of several books in the New Testament. He redeemed John Newton, a slave trader in the 18th Century, who we know as the author of "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me...."
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."