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Believe it or not, I went to Bible College. My educational background is in theology. Well, if you go further back into my background and it also involved some botany before a change happened in my life. Dude. If you’re not one for the Bible, this post might not be for you, but I ask that you hear me out.

Here’s my 2 cents on Big Mac. Oh wait, I don’t have 2 cents on Big Mac. Why? I’m aiming to put into practice my beliefs. I’m not saying I’ve arrived, actually the other day I got pretty critical about David Freese and his alcohol-related issues.  I still think having a back-up plan wouldn’t be a bad idea, considering, but if he’s genuine about making a change, more power to him.

Here’s a sampling of what you probably heard on sports talk radio over the last 10 hours, versus what the New Testament says:

Mark McGwire is an evil cheaty-McCheat-face! Let’s burn him alive!

For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. -James 2:13

I’m sorry but I don’t care for his sorry.

Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.  -Romans 14:4

He’s still lying! He won’t apologize for hitting a bunch of juice-aided dingers. He’s just saying he took low-doses to help him heal so he can help his team, trying to appear semi-noble. This is all rehearsed and very coached.

And He said to them (the scribes and Pharisees), “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts” – Luke 16:15

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. -Matthew 5:7

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. -Matthew 18:22

Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. – Luke 6:36-38

He just wants to be in the Hall of Fame. Fat chance, fat head!

Well, I won’t disagree with you if you think he doesn’t belong in the Hall. The Hall of Fame ballot says -

Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integritysportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

He admitted to taking steroids. That’s not good integrity, sportsmanship or character on his part. That’s the price he will have to pay. You can adjust his stats in your mind  if you think you need to diminish what he achieved while using steroids, I really don’t care.  I don’t think we have a way to do that accurately, but you’re welcome to it. There’s nothing unscriptural about looking for fruit in a person’s life, but there’s something sinister about acting like McGwire somehow still owes us something, and acting “holier than thou”.

And seriously, how glamorous or high-paying is it being a team’s hitting coach? According to Baseball-Reference.com, McGwire made $75 million over his career. It’s not like he’s hard up for cash. He could’ve continued to hide out in Orange County the rest of his life and said nothing to anyone, but he didn’t. Does that make him a better person now than he was yesterday? I don’t know. I’m not his judge. And I’m glad I’m not, because I’m not qualified for that job. That’s my point. I don’t want judgment, so I will do my best not to dish it out.

We live in a voyeuristic culture of critics. Publishing the failures of public figures is a multi-million dollar industry. What does that say about our priorities? We all fail, but most of us do it in far, far less public way. But it wasn’t just McGwire who has failed, no, there’s plenty of blame to go around. Writers looked the other way in exchange for access. Fans have complained about steroids and yet still made baseball the mega-bucks industry that it is today. Ownership looked the other way when their players mysteriously showed up to spring training with an extra 20 pounds of muscle. The league and the union share blame for having a weak drug policy. The blame game can go on and on.

None of us get what we deserve, that’s the beauty of mercy. Pass it on.

Erik Manning

Erik became addicted to Cardinals baseball as a young lad growing up on the mean streets of O'Fallon, MO. He moved away to Tulsa to attend Bible College, where he met his wife, who talked him into moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also known as the Bermuda triangle of baseball. His dream is to see the MLB.tv blackouts end, and his other interests are theology and philosophy of religion. He is the parent of two young boys.

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3 Responses to “Jesus and McGwire”

  1. Good article. I would like to add that, “Eating should be done in silence, lest the windpipe open before the gullet, and life be in danger.” — The Talmud.

  2. Great stuff as always, Erik!!

  3. Well said…and Mark was always very uncomfortable with the media attention, understandably so, I believe…thanks for the eternal perspective…I’m an A/G assistant pastor in Massachusetts…God bless…

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