Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Ray Rice: A Balance of Truth and Grace

So... by now we've all seen the video of Ray Rice hitting his wife in an Atlantic City hotel back in February.

My initial feelings -- I was offended and shocked. I knew Ray and his wife Janay had a major altercation. I figured he had struck his wife at least once. I knew they'd had a situation on that elevator.

When this story first broke months ago, I'd hoped that the reason Ray dragged his wife off the elevator was because she'd had too much to drink.

But... the video released yesterday proves Ray guilty. The video proves that Ray and Janay's "situation" was more involved than many of us had hoped. It proves that Ray was abusive. It proves that he used his massive strength - the same strength that helped him run footballs into the end zone - to hurt his then-girlfriend.

As I think of this saddening event, I'll share a few thoughts I've got.

1. The NFL finally got it right

I refuse to get into a debate over whether the NFL or the Ravens administration had already seen this video. The bottom line for me is that they made the right decision yesterday. The NFL had to take a stand against domestic violence. They had to make a statement - declaring that they will not tolerate their players and employees using physical force against women.

This was a win for victims of domestic violence and a win for women everywhere.

2. But - Ray's life isn't over

When difficulties come our way -- even difficulties we create with our own hands and foolishness -- God is not surprised. He is a God of redemption, and He can redeem anything. And I mean anything. He can redeem the deepest, darkest sins. He can even redeem an abuser like Ray. This is not the end of Ray's life. If he allows his heart to align with God's heart, he can walk in forgiveness and healing. If he confesses, repents and runs to God with all this craziness and drama, he can begin the next Act of his life with his head high and his heart whole.

3. What the Rices need now is prayer

Let's not forget that we're talking about a young family here. We're talking about the parents of a young child - their toddler daughter Rayven. Instead of joking about their difficulties or high-fiving over it, we need to be praying. We should pray that they grow closer to God through this trial. We should pray that Ray and Janay seek His face like never before. We should pray that Ray continues to get the counseling he needs to change. We should pray that he never lifts a hand to strike Janay ever again, or any other woman for that matter.