Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mark McGwire

So the big news in baseball this week is that Mark McGwire finally admitted that he used steroids. Accusations and suspicions have surrounded him for a long time. Five years ago he was called to testify before Congress. Even though he showed up, he refused to comment on any use of steroids.

I suspect that McGwire's conscience had less to do with him coming clean than the fact that he was recently hired to be a hitting coach for the Cardinals. He knew that it would be bad to have to answer more questions and accusations throughout the baseball season. I also suspect that McGwire thinks that coming clean about steroid use will help him get into the Hall of Fame (by the way, that's probably not going to happen).

My view is that Mark McGwire is a self-centered, opportunistic cheater who is currently receiving far more grace and forgiveness than he deserves (a good thing, by the way). All of his actions appear to have been based on what was most advantageous to himself and those around him, rather than on what was right (or even legal). He took steroids in order to heal faster, stay healthy longer, and ultimately perform better on the field. This advantage no doubt helped his team win more games and earned him far more money and fame.

Once the steroid stage of his life was completed, the cover-up was about the same things. He stated that he desperately wanted to tell Congress about steroids, but he couldn't because they had not given him immunity. In other words, he was more concerned about the punishment than he was about the truth. He was more concerned for his own comfort, than for the the help that the truth would bring to other people. And even now in his "confession" he is still only looking out for himself. A revelation of the truth during the season would probably get him fired from his new job and would probably close the Hall of Fame to him forever. So he reveals as much of the truth as is convenient to him, but only when it is convenient to him.

While I believe that Mark McGwire is an egomaniac, I also believe that he is experiencing grace. Though he cheated and lied, he will be forgiven by the vast majority of sports fans. While he may never get into the Hall of Fame, it is unlikely that his stats and records will be stripped away from him. And though he was involved in illegal activity, he will not be prosecuted. So Mark McGwire ought to thank God ("the man upstairs" in his vernacular) for these blessings. And while he is at it, he would be best served if he would ask for even more grace. If he truly wants forgiveness for all of the things that he has done wrong, then he should seek that forgiveness through what Jesus has done on the cross. it is only through the cross that any of us will experience God's grace of the penalty of our sins being forgiven. That grace is far more important than avoiding jail or keeping a job. That grace is the ultimate answer to our search for true happiness.

I stated that McGwire is selfish. The truth is that he sought his own happiness in the wrong place. He sought his fulfillment by cheating his way to the top of his profession. But he now has the opportunity (along with the rest of us) to seek his ultimate happiness and fulfillment in the grace of God which will give him far more than he deserves. I hope he receives that grace.


  1. are on a roll. First Sunday's message then this. Yes...praise God that He can use you to speak His truth. But I have enjoyed the way your personality (also from God) has been used to express this truth. Just saying/I say stuff.

  2. Whoa. Wow, I used to have thoughts like that about others, and then when I began to appreciate God's Grace and forgiveness for me, I let go of how others' affairs work out. Money, Fame, Stats, Hall of Fame I would not want to trade places with MM then or now. Pat D.