What We Can Learn from the Anger Behind Jon Gruden


John 8:7 “Let him without sin cast the first stone…” was a pivotal moment in the life of Jesus and the disciples. A woman was accused of sin and the Master teacher was being asked, “Hey Jesus should we join in with the crowd in stoning the sinful woman”. Jesus looked at the crowd of pious leaders and rebuked them by saying, “Let him without sin cast the first stone.”

Today’s culture has become the pious leaders of biblical days about racism and equity. Our current crop of citizens believe it is their call to meet out judgement on anyone who doesn’t or hasn’t come up to their standards of right and wrong.

The original sin of America (slavery and racism) has become a cudgel for our nation and not a starting place for healing. Racism is big business and those who make their money from the division of calling a sinner a sinner is lucrative. But there is no healing that comes from calling out someone’s past sins. There is nothing to be gained by continuing to look for wrongs in the past. 

This week Jon Gruden, the former head coach of the LV Raiders resigned because of some emails which were discovered by the New York Times and subsequently handed over to the owner of the football club.

In those letters Gruden used several fowl racist and misogynistic terms. Not only were these letter offensives, but they were expansive. Gruden had used the same language over a 7-year period.

Was Gruden guilty of using sinful language, Yes! Was the language he used worthy of losing his job or even his prestigious place in the history of sports? Some would say yes to this also.

The question remains, who deserves to be the one to bring him to account? Is it you or me? Speaking for myself, I have enough skeletons in my closet. I’ll give this one a hard pass.

So now that we are all on the same page, what should happen to Jon Gruden? I don’t think it is as easy as trying to figure out what we should do with him. The question should be what do we do with a system that hasn’t found an answer to the question of forgiveness of sin?

In the biblical account, Jesus gave us a clear model. He told the woman accused of sin. The women who by custom would have been dead by now by the hands of the pious leaders in the city center. Ironically, Jesus told the woman, “You are forgiven, now go and sin no more”.

What? You are forgiven, now go and sin no more…?” It begs the question, “Where is the spirit of forgiveness, reconciliation and redemption found in our country today?” We have long conveniently forgotten; we are a sinful people. We have been forgiven, yet we refuse to extend this same grace to those caught in the sin.

Irony or irony, a nation, calling out for justice cannot itself forgive.  In our blind rage we fail to realize to receive it, [justice] we must first forgive. But if we don’t forgive, if we continue to be led down the path of unforgiveness by the race-baiters under the guise of politicians and so called anti-racist activist, then we will never see any lasting change and why should we.

If the offender knew they would never be forgiven, no matter how hard they tried, why should they attempt to change? It would do them no good, but if the offender knew there was forgiveness and reconciliation then he/she would have to be a fool not to attempt to try.

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