Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ray Rice, my Son - and the rest of us

A few years ago my youngest son - less than 10 at the time - wrote a letter to one of his favorite football players in the National Football League. 
His letter to Ray Rice included a very nice drawing, complete with various crayon work, that depicted Mr. Rice running away from a defender during an NFL game.
A few weeks later, to his complete shock, he received an envelope from Baltimore, Maryland.  In it was an autograph -  that he had not asked for - of Ray Rice.
A couple of years ago my son asked for a Ray Rice jersey for Christmas and has worn it until it does not fit real well anymore.
The autographed picture was framed and put up on his wall - and proudly displayed and talked about to anyone who would listen.  The jersey is still in his closet.
My thirteen-year old son still has not been told, or heard about, or read about what Ray Rice did on the elevator months ago.

I have grappled with what to do about all of this.

I have not - and will not - watch the TMZ video of his violent behavior.  Why should I? 

I will not show him the video either.  Why would I?

My son has been raised in a home where domestic violence does not exist.  He has also been raised in a home where sin does exist. 

No one has ever filmed his father using bad language while he is angry.  No one has filmed his mother and father being selfish or rude or prideful or angry.  No one has ever filmed the sinful thoughts of his father or mother.  Nor has anyone ever filmed the sins of my children.

To the outside world the Chambless family appears to be relatively nice, polite and generally giving.

The outside world has no video of my 48 years of bad decisions.  If the outside world had the same film of me that God has, the outside world would not think much of me.  Or you.

I feel terrible for Ray Rice and his wife.  I feel terrible about what she went through and what they are both going through now.    He has been tried, judged and convicted by the self-righteous among us.    I have heard people judge him as if he is a _______________________________!!!!(FILL IN THE BLANK).

People all over the world - many of whom have done horrible, unrecorded things, have sentenced him, in their hearts, to a life of unemployment, misery and mockery.

The Bible is pretty clear about the standard by which we judge people.  The same standard we use will be used on us.

Ray Rice committed a terrible sin, but not an unforgiveable one.  His wife has forgiven him.  God can forgive him.

As I leave my son's autograph on the wall and his jersey in his closet I wonder,

"Why can't the rest of us sinners forgive him?"


  1. Oh, I don't know. This is a really tough one. I've not disagreed with you in any meaningful way until now and I didn't watch the video myself, but I did hear about the severity of the act by someone who did watch it. I have a sister who spent much of her adult life being beat up (severely), by someone who was supposed to love her, and when her family attempted to intervene, she said if we did, she would have nothing to do with us. I have little patience for this type behavior. Having said that, to me, the same punishment anyone would get for this act, should apply to him as well. Just because he is in the public eye, doesn't hold him to any higher standard than anyone else. So yes, because of what he does, he is being crucified....right or wrong. I understand completely why you would want to keep this from your son. I would do the same thing.