Sunday, February 02, 2014

Self Imprisonment

WOW- a blowout in the Super Bowl at least through the start of the third quarter! The following is about the case of a well known football player who served time in prison and since his release, has  been a model citizen. But it's also about two coaching friends of mine and the prisons in which we incarcerate ourselves.  This entry,  from August 20, 2007, while touching on the Michael Vick situation, considers a more widespread plague afflicting the greater set of the human race.

It's almost football time and the news should be about the upcoming NFL season. It's not. The dominating story is the anticipated guilty plea of star quarterback Michael Vick to a multitude of charges stemming from dog fighting. I am sure much of the country has been shocked to find the amount of involvement in the outlawed activity, especially by such a high profile athlete. I know nothing about the sport, if you can even call it that. It has a shroud of secrecy around it and that's fine with me. It isn't the first time I've been shocked by details of this sort of underground society, though. About fifteen years ago, I was working at a college basketball camp and my roommate was a coach from the area. As we talked during the week, he told me something that floored me. His family had been involved in cockfighting for several generations. He implied that it was fairly widespread in rural areas. I didn't really think stuff like that existed. I really didn't think it existed in the orbits of people I knew. As often is the case, I was pretty naive.

But this story really isn't about animals fighting each other to the death or until one is disabled. (I must plead considerable ignorance in the specifics of this arena.) One night, my roommate and I were talking with Toney, another coach who happened to be a member of my church back home. The subject was the Lord. My roommate, who I really liked as a person, was not a believer. I think he wanted to be. He spoke of attending church services but always feeling he just didn't quite fit in. Then, he made a statement that I can still quote word-for-word.
"I'm not good enough to be baptized."
I thought Toney made a perfect response.
"None of us are."

Our conversation continued but we made no headway. His feelings of guilt and unworthiness in life kept him from believing God could love him and accept him. The tragedy is that my camp roommate died within several years. I don't remember if we ever talked about our souls past that night but I had an empty feeling when I heard of his death. He wanted the Lord to love him but he just didn't think it was possible. As far as I know, he left the earth without ever knowing the freedom that comes with forgiveness and grace. With his personality, he might have been a great soldier in the army of Jesus. He just passed up the chance to enlist. Michael Vick got caught but he can still change. My roommate escaped the police...but he never got away from himself.

Applicable quote of the day:
"We achieve inner health only through forgiveness- the forgiveness not only of others but also of ourselves."

Joshua Loth Liebman

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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1 comment:

pop said...


I thought Chuck Colson made a great point about the irony of the valid and proper outrage about Michael Vicks cruelty to animals and the lack of outrage against partial birth abortion.

Praying for your parents and you.

Carlin & Teresa