One need not be a fan of the New Orleans Saints in particular, or the NFL in general, to have taken notice of the most-controversial “no call” in the January 20 NFC Championship Game between the Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. As the replay showed, Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman not only interfered with Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis’s catching a pass but also made forbidden helmet-to-helmet contact.
Most-striking to me were Robey-Coleman’s statements in which he admitted both blowing his coverage and intentionally targeting Lewis. Before being fined $26,739, Robey-Coleman also said, in not getting flagged for the penalties, that “more than lucky” he felt “blessed”.
Do you think God would “bless” someone who violates a game’s rules by not having him be penalized? Taking the question off the field and into our everyday lives, would God bless a drunk driver, who hits someone but runs off, by not having him or her be arrested? Does God bless evil-doers in such ways? Although I am not sure it applies to professional athletics, when it comes to our everyday lives, God’s justice ultimately is perfect.
All of us are evil-doers by nature. We sin against God and one another in countless thoughts, words, and deeds. We do not deserve God’s blessing us in any way. But, out of God’s love, mercy, and grace for the sake of His Son Jesus Christ Who bore the punishment for our evil by dying on the cross for us, God especially blesses us by forgiving our sins. Through that greatest “evil” of Jesus’s crucifixion, God worked good for you and for me. When we in sorrow turn away from our sin and trust God to forgive our sin for Jesus’s sake, then God forgives us.
Any good worked for the NFL’s Saints from the “evil” play may remain to be seen, but, from the “evil” that God in His wisdom permits us to face, we can be sure that He ultimately works good for us, especially conforming us to the image of His Son, so that we might be His brothers and sisters (Romans 8:28-29).
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.