On Wednesday Rutgers men’s basketball coach, Mike Rice, was fired when a video surfaced showing him shoving players, berating them with gay slurs, and throwing basketballs at them. You can imagine the uproar that ensued when the video was released. Initially, Rice was suspended, fined, and sent to anger management, but when the video was released it was decided that Rice should be fired.
I have no problem with the Rice firing. There are consequences to our actions. When I saw the video I was taken back by how he treated his players. I wondered, “Why did it take so long?!” I thought about how embarrassing it must be for Rice and his family to see the video on the 6 o’clock news. There’s nothing like acting like a fool…and then getting to watch the tape over and over and over again.
It’s easy to lob criticisms at Rice. Most of them are deserved. It’s within reason to stand up and say, “That’s not right!” Someone has to stick up and speak out for the players. However, I do wonder, what would happen if our tape was released? I have one. You have one.
Paul said as much in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Everyone has a tape. Most of us have the luxury of not having our tape played for the world to see. But we’re always seen.
For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything a secret that will not come to light. (Lk 8:17)
We love watching other people’s tape, but we go to great lengths to keep our tape in house. I’m glad that the tape of my sin isn’t played for the world to see. Yet, honestly, my gratitude is driven by selfish reasons more than anything. I mean, I have a reputation to uphold and all. Sadly, even our reasons for wanting to hide the tape just adds more tape! Our motives aren’t pure. Instead, they are self preservation tactics. Thankfully, there is good news for you and me. The good news is the tape of our life isn’t held as evidence against us.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor 5:21)
The eternal consequences that I deserve for my words, thoughts, and deeds have been sufficiently paid for by Christ. The psalmist explains it this way:
“As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” (Ps 103:12)
That doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences for our actions. That’s foolish to think. And it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t challenge our brothers and sisters when we fall into sin. That’s immature. However, it does mean when slowing down to peer over at the wreckage of someone’s life we should be quick to remember, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor 10:12)
The truth of the matter is all of us have a tape. Probably only a few (if that!) have seen it, but we have one. Well, everyone except for one.
“For we do not have a high priest who was unable to sympathize with out weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb 4:15)
I’m grateful that my hope is not found in the tale of my tape, but in the perfection of His.