After admitting his part in a sinister dog fighting and gambling operation, Atlanta Falcon QB Michael Vick apologized in a post court room press conference and spoke of "finding Jesus," asking for His forgiveness, and turning his life over to God.
Those comments are getting noticed.
The Drudge Report put in their headline: "Vick: I found Jesus... I have to grow up." A radio commentator said, "Vick says he found Jesus. It's not known if he was open in the end zone." One blogger said mentioning Jesus won't win him any sympathy.
Tragically, Vick has ruined his name. But as he pleaded for redemption, did the name of Jesus get inadvertently dragged down in the public's eye?
Hang with me here for a minute.
On the one hand, when desperate people call on Jesus, some people think, "It's a ploy." Jesus then gets associated with con artists, and if you're not that, why would you call on Jesus, except when you need to exploit him?
On the other hand, let's assume Vick really is genuine in asking Jesus for forgiveness. If the public senses this, do they then think to themselves, "If I ever get myself in a whole heap of trouble, I'll call on Jesus too. But I can't see myself ever doing something that bad."
So if you're not a con or you've never done anything horrible, Jesus isn't really necessary, is he?
Or, is he?
I think one of the reasons that Jesus has such a good reputation is that he gladly welcomes those who don't have a good reputation. Jesus welcomes those who genuinely admit they need forgiveness-- and gladly bestows it.
People might dismiss Jesus because of Michael Vick. But Jesus is never ashamed to have his name associated with desperate people. Jesus is willing to take the chance.
As Jesus himself says, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."