The Monday feature of the Worldly Saints blog focuses on a story from the sports world – current or historic. The point is to recognize athletes who are using their sports and athletic abilities to further the kingdom of God or to show how some athletes are wasting their days by not giving God the glory.
Last Tuesday, the polarizing Yankee Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) released a letter of apology to the fans for his “past mistakes” (referencing his use performance enhanced substances) and expressed a desire to get back to playing baseball. A-Rod is set to return to the game of baseball in 2015 after serving an 162-game suspension (reduced from 211 games) for his involvement in the Biogenesis baseball scandal.
A-Rod’s apology was not well received for a number of reasons:
- It was a letter and not a “in person” or news-conference apology.
- His career in baseball has been fairly disappointment. In fact, his play on the field in clutch situations earned him the nickname A-Fraud
- He is overpaid
- He plays for one of the most storied franchises in all of sports – the New York Yankees – whose fan base expect you to play like you’re Babe Ruth or Reggie Jackson.
Generally speaking, he is simply not liked by many.
Now, what should be do with this apology letter? As Christians, we are commanded to not judge the hearts of men (Matt 8:1). We cannot and do not know their real intentions or motivations. All we can judge is their character and behavior. We can only look at the outside and not on the inside.
My desire for A-Rod is that his apology was sincere and that he grow to become a better man as a result of these troubling years in baseball. I hope to see him move away from these mistakes and suspensions and trust less in himself and more in the Creator who enabled him to have the right amount of giftedness to play the game of baseball. I pray that the Lord save this man and help him redeem what time he has left in professional sports – not for A-Rod’s glory but for God’s.
I will assume his apology was sincere (I Cor 13:7), but I hope to see more. I hope to see his apology develop into remorse and his remorse develop into repentance. I hope to see his sorrow turn into sanctification.
In his book Man: The Dwelling Place of God wrote,
“Repentance is not likely to do us much good until it ceases to be a change of mind only and becomes a wound within our spirit. No man has truly repented until his sin has wounded him near to death, until the wound has broken him and defeated him and taken all the fight and self-assurance out of him and he sees himself as the one who nailed his Savior to the tree.”
A-Rod, I pray that you see the biggest of all pictures – not the career home runs or World Series rings, but eternal life and the Savior who died so you could have it.