This sermon is part of the sermon series "Wicked". See series.
If you follow sports, you are well aware of the news that broke this week. Major League Baseball's highest paid player, Alex Rodriguez, admitted he took performance enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003. ESPN's Peter Gammons sat down with him for a fascinating discussion about God and sin (although they may not have known it). First, they addressed sin. A-Rod said he felt pressured to take the illegal drugs. He said the culture was loose, he was young, he was stupid. And he said he was sorry for doing it. What, exactly, was he guilty of? He said he was guilty of negligence, naivety, and asking the wrong questions. In other words, he was guilty of anything but intentional wrong.
When he was asked about whether he had, at least, lied in an earlier interview with Katie Couric when she asked him if he used steroids, human growth hormones, or other performance-enhancing substances—which he definitively denied—he said, "At the time I wasn't even being truthful with myself. How was I going to be truthful with Katie or CBS?"
Then they discussed God. When asked about the media frenzy that was swirling around him—the revelation that he took steroids, his recent divorce from his wife of thirteen years, and the tabloid reports of an affair with Madonna—he said, "I think God has a reason for everything." He believed that somehow God was tied up in him taking the drugs, getting divorced, and having an affair.
So who are we when we sin, according to Alex Rodriguez? Apparently, we are not sinners at all. We are mistakers, victims, people who need to do better. And who is God? Someone who is integrally involved in those mistakes. Someone who, for whatever reason, let us make them, or has us make them so that ...
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James Emery White is founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is a consulting editor to Leadership Journal. He is author of Serious Times and A Search for the Spiritual, and blogs at churchandculture.org.