With the Super Bowl kickoff about five hours away hours away and Ray Lewis’ retirement about three hours after that, I’m relieved that we can stop hearing about the guy for a while. But before we close the book on that discussion (until 2018 when he is eligible for the Hall of Fame) I think we have missed one important aspect of his life change- contrition.
It’s not often that my opinion on somebody turns around so drastically as it has Ray Lewis. I couldn’t stand the guy after his brush with the law. Like most fans, I thought he had literally gotten away with murder because of his wealth and celebrity status. Although I’m still pretty sure that opinion is valid, I don’t root against him anymore. It appears he really has found God and has made a 180 in his life. I find Ray Lewis to be one of the most exciting, entertaining, and uplifting players in the NFL.
My opinion has changed for many reasons: His positive words, his speaking out for God, his use of Scripture, his encouragement to those around him, his generally good reputation now, his charitable work, the forgiveness of culture as a whole.
There’s only one thing I haven’t heard–“I was wrong.”
I have heard him plead guilty to obstruction of justice. I have heard him say he was sorry. I have heard he paid over $1 million to the families of the men who were killed. I have heard him speak of forgiveness. I have heard about God’s mercy. I have heard him tell of his change.
I haven’t heard him admit guilt or tell the whole story of how he was involved in an altercation that left two men dead. Even after the obstruction charges, he didn’t testify against his friends and they walked. Two men were stabbed, three other men were there when it happened, and no one was convicted of murder.
There are generally two schools of thought regarding Ray Lewis:
- Let it go. It was a long time ago and he has obviously turned his life around. Everyone deserves a second chance.
- Your actions determine who you are. He made a huge mistake and that should be a huge part of his legacy.
My opinion is somewhere in the middle- I would love to move on and forget about his wrongdoings, but I can’t forgive someone who hasn’t done anything wrong.
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
– Psalm(s) 91 (NIV)