Picture from AP
Her words were riveting. Enthralled, I listened, for she indicated she had something important to say. In the beginning, her beautiful voice rang strong and deliberate, but merely a few sentences into her press conference outside the U S District Court, she wavered and then she was crying. I was close to tears myself, when in a breaking voice, she apologized to her children, to her husband, her family, her friends, her country, saying she had lied, she had been dishonest. I don’t follow sports, so up until a few days ago, I was not at all familiar with Marion Jones.
Throughout the day yesterday, her words were repeated by the media, and each time I heard them, I was impressed with this beautiful young woman. A three-time Olympic gold medalist, for years she has been lying–angrily, I understand–as she defended herself against charges of steroid use. Yesterday, she admitted her deception.
I may be fooled in this person, for I note that not only has she been entangled in illegal steroid use, but she also is charged–and has pled guilty–to involvement with a check-fraud scheme. So, I acknowledge, I may be wrong, but to me, Marion Jones appears truly repentant, and I want to talk a little in this devotional about honesty and repentance. I’m raising some questions to which I would like your response.
Not since God fashioned Adam and then Eve has there lived one human who has not at one time or another lied. All of us–to one degree or another–have been devious and misleading. Admit it, now. We’re all flawed, and dishonesty comes easily to us. But most of us take ourselves in hand, and certainly after we come to know the Lord, we strive for integrity and truthfulness.
Luke 16:10 – “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (NIV)
What should happen when someone has been dishonest? How can we recognize a change in one’s spirit? Does it matter to you if a person appears repentant? What of blame? Does it mitigate the circumstance if the person takes the blame for his/her action? Does it make a difference if a person admits to lying only when the truth is revealed–or about to be revealed–as seems to be the case with Marion? What of restitution? Does it elevate Marion in your eyes that she is retiring? Do you have difficulty trusting someone who admits to having lied? What of repeated lying and repentance? Do you see lying as a serious problem in our society? What about among church people? Why do you believe this is so–or not so?
I have more questions than I have answers, but in Marion Jones, I sense true sorrow and repentance, and I respect her for that. I may be wrong here…time will tell.