The 2016 Rio Olympics are over and swimmer Ryan Lochte stole the show… but not for what he did in the pool. Instead, he is in the news for a completely unrelated reason. By now, if you haven’t heard the news then you must be under a rock somewhere.
Long story short, Lochte did something stupid at a gas station in Brazil and lied about what happened. What he did do (or didn’t do) and what happened (or didn’t happen) doesn’t matter. The media and the public, including Christians, are going after Ryan Lochte for what he said after the fact and the lies that he told.
Initially, my first thoughts and reactions were to jump right in and begin to mock Lochte. I thought, “Why would you lie? The cover-up is always going to be worse than the actual crime. You must be an idiot.”
But then I began to process what I was actually doing and I immediately began to break down, cry and had to ask God for my own forgiveness.
Who do I think that I am that I can sit back in my chair and ridicule Lochte for what he had done? Have I not told a lie before? Have I never sinned before? Am I really above reproach?
I’m reminded of a story in the bible that we have all likely read:
A Woman Caught in Adultery
Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” | John 8:1-11 (NLT)
This woman’s sin was made public. The Pharisees wanted to publicly shame this woman for her act of adultery. When she was brought in front of Jesus, they hoped that he would join in and condemn her and her actions. They wanted Jesus to give them the okay to stone her.
But what happened, instead? What did Jesus do?
Jesus started by getting down next to the woman. He started writing something in the dirt and then said something that I believe we all need to hear right now.
“…let the one who has NEVER sinned throw the first stone.” – John 8:7 (NLT)
Soon after that, all of her accusers left and Jesus forgave her of her sins and told her to not do it again.
The same way Jesus forgave that woman of her sin, He has forgiven you of your sin.
This woman, who interestingly has remained nameless, could have been any one of us. We have all sinned and the punishment for that sin is death. You could be brought to the feet of Jesus and be publicly called out for any number of sins that you commit daily.
The great thing is that Jesus’ response would have been the same for us as it was for that woman.
Ryan Lochte is a dummy. He did something dumb. But, is he any more of a dummy than we are? Is what he did any dumber that what we do?
IS HIS SIN ANY MORE SINNY THAN OUR SIN?
Why are we always so quick to point out other people’s flaws/sins and neglect our own?
As Christians, we should be the first ones in line to get on the ground to pick Lochte up. We have been given the ultimate grace from God. So why can’t we pass that grace along to someone else who is no worse than we are?
If God can forgive us, why can’t we forgive him?
Peace and Grace