Had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine yesterday. We tend to talk on occasion and we have been friends for many years. I will just refer to this man as “Mike.” Well, Mike has been through a lot in his life. Years ago he was a wanted man for doing bad things. It was alleged that he stole money from his own mother’s account. He was also a chronic drug abuser at one point. He often conned people out of money. Things had gotten so bad for him that on one night he had become homeless and I actually used my own money to secure him a hotel room for that night. Well, for him, this story had a happy ending. Mike turned himself in during an “amnesty period” and got his record wiped totally clean. He also managed to detox and get his system clean and finally he got saved, joined the church and even found a new woman in his life. He and that woman are now happily married and living the Christian life. This was a major revelation for him and I am so proud of the accomplishments he has made. Now with that being said, it is time to talk about our conversation. A couple of months ago, a Philadelphia Eagles player got into “hot water” with his comments that he made in a video. He used the “N” word in the video (rhymes with “trigger”), and there was a major backlash from it. The player’s name was Riley Cooper, and he was subsequently fined for his actions. Well, Mike decided to mention Cooper and initially said that he was never punished for his actions. I then proceeded to tell him, “I heard he was fined for that. Are you now telling me now that he wasn’t?” Mike said that the fine was not just enough for what he said so in essence it doesn’t count. I then asked him if he even “knew” how much Cooper was fined. He said that he did not, but then he compared Cooper’s misdeed with that of quarterback Michael Vick, Cooper’s teammate who was previously jailed for dog fighting. Mike mentioned how Vick was subjected to a LOT more criticism for his actions and had to do two years of jail time. I then had to let him know that what Cooper did was “immoral.” What Vick did was “illegal.” There IS a difference. Mike then told me that his pastor (a well known Philadelphia pastor) felt that Cooper deserved more punishment for what he said. I then asked him if his pastor was speaking for God or for himself? You see, the God I know forgives you if you seek it. Therefore if Mr. Cooper is totally repentant for his actions and sought out God (and was ultimately “forgiven” by God) then who are we to now “judge” him? Mike’s response was that Cooper’s words reflected who he really is and that should not be supported under any means. I then told Mike that I “AGREE” with him totally, but if this man has truly changed his ways, do we continue to judge him for his past or should we do like God does and forgive him as well? Mike then decided to quote Biblical scripture to me to help make his point. After listening to a somewhat lengthy passive I then proceeded to let him know that Jesus once said, “Let he who is without sin cast the very first stone.” I think Mike got a little quiet after that comment. You see, it’s one thing to make a great transition in your life and overcome powerful odds against you. It is another thing to overcome those odds and then “forget” where you “came from.” In my book, only God can truly judge a man’s heart. I told Mike that if Riley Cooper repented his ways and was forgiven by God, then that is MORE than good enough for me. I can “forgive” him as well. You see, for me it is “NOT” where a man comes from, but rather where he is “headed” that determines his true value. NONE of us are perfect and we all are prone to make mistakes. Granted, what Cooper said was “vile and ugly” but is “is” possible that he can change. I cannot guarantee that he has changed, but no one other than Cooper himself and God can say that he “hasn’t.” I had to let Mike know that while I am proud of his current standing, it is important to realize that he “should not become like those who misjudged him back during his own worldly days. Since he got the chance to get himself straight, then others should have that chance as well. I don’t know if Mike even liked what I said to him, but for me it doesn’t matter. I believed in Mike years ago when no one else would. Now I wanted to spare him from becoming “just like” those who “passed judgement on him. “Amazing” how time “changes” people… I appreciate you allowing me to share this story with you today. I am sure that there is someone out there who will disagree with what I have just said. Guess what? I love you “anyway….” Have a great weekend, and just note that God loves you as well… See you next time…
Got a topic? Feel free to contact me via email at Brettjolly@aol.com or send me a friend request on Skype at username Brettjolly1. Thank you and have a great day.
Television personality Robin Roberts and Brett Jolly