‘As I said in my very first press conference when I was asked about Steve Smith and David Warner and Cameron Bancroft [the . . . ball-tampering scandal in South Africa] – there's not one person . . . who hasn't made a mistake in their life.
What I see, I continually see in this job and see in the society we live in, it's brutal . . . we live in an unforgiving society’.
These are the words of Justin Langar, the Australian cricket coach, spoken prior to the commencement of the first Ashes test match between England and Australia in Brisbane. If you are not a follower of cricket, this might all be a mystery. However, two things struck me about his statement. The first is, that all of us have made mistakes in our lives. The second is, that we live in an unforgiving society. I want us to think about both of these frank comments.
For the Australian cricketers caught cheating in their match against South Africa, it was a significant mistake. Being found guilty ended the captain’s career. But how many of us have not been caught in the same dilemma and led to think that ‘the end justifies the means’? If the outcome is a ‘good’ one, in this case winning the match, surely we can bend a few rules? We often stand in condemnation of others without appreciating that we are just as guilty, albeit in other realms. We may justify our actions by comparing ourselves with those who have committed worse crimes than us. Are we prepared to acknowledge that we are sinners – failures in the sight of God, as well as some of our fellow men and women. The Bible states, ‘All have sinned’. That telling conclusion is one that we should consider, for sin/failure has consequences.
The second thing that Justin Langar said was that ‘we live in an unforgiving society’. It is not just about ending a person’s career. Sadly, such inability to forgive has resulted in ending a person’s life. Crushed by the outcome of their mistake, the relentless hounding by the press and social media, some have resorted to taking their own life, thinking this is the only way out. They feel there is ‘no forgiveness’. However, the wonderful news of the Christian gospel is that we can find forgiveness. The Bible says, ‘if we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’. We should be aware of our mistakes, more numerous than we might like to admit, and the way to find forgiveness is not to deny them, or try and minimise them, but to confess them to God. God is gracious and willing to forgive. The Bible tells us of ‘the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his [God’s] grace’.
Have you spoken to God about the matter of your sin and failure? He is willing and waiting to forgive.