Casting Stones

Josh Hamilton.

Chances are you’ve heard his name within the last couple of weeks.

Hamilton is the All Star outfielder for the Texas Rangers whose struggle with alcohol and drug addiction has been well documented in the baseball and sports communities.   Drafted number 1 overall to Tampa Bay, Hamilton soon saw his career begin to slip away due to his addiction.   He missed the entire 2003-2005 seasons before being traded and finally returning to prominence with the Rangers and even winning the 2010 AL MVP award.   Hamilton is also a Christian and has been very open about both his faith and his recovery.  A fact that some media circles, both secular and religious, have held up these past few days in an attempt to add some sort of dynamic twist to his story.

Recently Hamilton admitted to having an alcohol relapse while having dinner at a restaurant in Dallas.  What started with a drink over dinner lead to further drinks over the course of the night at a bar. While the relapse from his recovery is disappointing, it only show’s that Hamilton is human.

“They said this to test him, so that they might have some good grounds for an accusation. But Jesus stooped down and began to write with his finger in the dust on the ground. But as they persisted in their questioning, he straightened himself up and said to them, “Let the one among you who has never sinned throw the first stone at her.” Then he stooped down again and continued writing with his finger on the ground. And when they heard what he said, they were convicted by their own consciences and went out, one by one, beginning with the eldest until they had all gone.  

Jesus was left alone, with the woman still standing where they had put her. So he stood up and said to her, “Where are they all—did no one condemn you?” And she said, “No one, sir.”

“Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus to her. “Go home and do not sin again.”  

John 8:7-11 (J.B. Phillips New Testament)

The road to recovery from an addiction, much like the road of life, is a long marathon.  It is not an overnight sprint or as simple as changing your socks and shirt.    Hamilton is not the first recovering addict to have a relapse and he will not be the last.   The dynamic of his being open about his Christian faith and also being a professional athlete means more media attention, but those circumstances do not make him an infallible super hero.  They make him a human man who is tempted, who sometimes gives in to those temptations and sins, and who needs both love and forgiveness.   The same love and forgiveness that all of us need.

“Let the one among you who has never sinned throw the first stone….”

I am positive we can all relate to having failed to always follow through on something we have resolved to quit or do differently.   Maybe it is drugs or alcohol that you battle.  Your struggle might be with over-eating or secret eating after you said you never would again. Perhaps it is visiting websites or pay-per-view channels or other temptations that you swore you were done looking at.  Maybe it is losing your temper, yelling or telling lies when you promised you would never act like that again.  Maybe it is never going to that gym your joined so you could get into shape and lose the weight that you promised yourself you would.   You could be a compulsive shopper, kleptomaniac or hoarder with a closet full of stuff you don’t need. Whatever it is, we all can relate to those moments in time when what we wanted to do fell short of what we actually ended up doing. 

Sin is sin, regardless of the stripe or variety.  One person’s alcohol is another person’s porn which is another person’s anger issues.  Romans 3:23 reminds us that “For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God.” (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)  Notice that is not worded “some” or “other people beside you” or even “pro baseball players”; no ALL have sinned.  Each and every single one of us is included in that definition.  We all are sinners in need of God’s forgiveness and his glory.

“Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus to her. “Go home and do not sin again.”

Rather than gossip or shake our heads at Hamilton and his relapse, let’s instead bow our heads and hold him and his family up in prayer and also let each of us examine our own lives for those addictions and vices, those secret (and not so secret) sins we each struggle with. 

Let’s practice giving grace to others and accepting God’s forgiveness toward ourselves.

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About meicemen

Kind of ironic isn't it that you have to fit a few words about yourself into a small box..... I am so many things - a husband and father, an avid sports fan, coach, church planter in training. My blog A Million Points of Grace touches on many of these things that "make up me" and my Christian journey on this earth.
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3 Responses to Casting Stones

  1. Margie says:

    Great blog. I will look forward to reading more from you. I just finished church planting training.

    • meicemen says:

      Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by! Please keep coming back and please tell others to join you. Congrats on finishing church plant training! Planting new churches is such a vital ministry and one that is very near to my heart. Will be keeping you in prayer as you begin your ministry, keep in touch and let me know how it is going.

  2. Mel says:

    Amen is all I can say.

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