A Gospel for Assailants

Ray Rice will probably never carry a football again.  Some Ravens’ fans think that’s a shame.  Others would gladly be the one to not only throw him off the team bus–but under it after viewing him level his fiance with a 209 lb.-packed punch.

Some American men abuse their wives or girlfriends as if by their relationship they’ve been granted a license to terrify.  Every day in the US, 3 wives or girlfriends are murdered by men who claimed to love them.  Lump together all the women who have been injured by rape, muggings, and car accidents, and there will still be more who have been injured by domestic violence.  It’s as common as the cold and the ugly statistics won’t be tempered by women–like Ray’s wife, who either defend or excuse their assailants.

How should a Christian react?  I don’t mean a perspective on what the NFL should do.  If our thinking is gospel-shaped, how should we think about Ray?  Is he a bum?  An overpaid athlete that’s finally getting held to account instead of getting a pass?  Is he a gifted celebrity to whose slip-up everyone seems to be overreacting?

The gospel is the bad news that every one of the 7 billion + people on this planet are sinners (Gal.3:22) and there’s not a single sinner in a position to throw stones at other sinners.  And it’s the good news that by God’s grace there’s a promise offered to every sinner–whether we think the person’s sins are many and great, or few and minor (also Gal.3:22).  Faith in His gospel is how God delivers those under His wrath and obliterates their sins.  The gospel of His Son’s sacrifice is accessed only one way and that’s by “repent and believe”.  That’s just as true for wife-beating athletes as it is for self-righteous preachers.