Wow, what a week in the news for sports! First, it turns out that Lance Armstrong was using sports enhancing drugs after denying it for many years. Then, we find out that Manti Te’o was lying about his girlfriend that he had been dating who had died from cancer last year, but then Notre Dame tells us that no, Manti Te’o was actually the victim and had no clue, but then we find out that it sounds like he had already known he wasn’t a victim.
Alright, so, now you’re probably wondering what these two guys have to do with forgiveness. If so, you’re in luck, because I’m going to tell you. If not, well, I’ll tell you anyways (but don’t tell anyone, it can be our little secret).
Many people are arguing that Lance Armstrong is only apologizing because he got caught. I argue that this is probably right. But, let’s look at it from another point of view, shall we? Those who are dying or have what the skeptics call “death bed conversions”, are those people only repenting because the end is near? Well, again, quite possibly. And here in is where our two stories collide.
In both cases, there is the desire for forgiveness. In one case its because the individual was caught, and the other case the individual is dying. In both cases, we can argue that when our sins come to light, and we are faced with the truth that we have been exposed, that then we are in need of forgiveness.
So, to state this simply. Sometimes, we are so caught up in our sin and in our pride, that we need to be publicly shamed and exposed in our sin, in order to realize the gravity of our moral decline so that we may seek God’s mercy, love and forgiveness. This, sadly, is the danger of sin, especially mortal sin. We get so caught up and wrapped up in the falsity of the lie that we are living and need shame and a swift kick in the ego to wake up and go “yeah, I guess that is wrong…sorry…”.
Just like the man on his death bed (who realizes that now that his end is nigh, that he is a poor sinner, in need of God’s love and mercy and was a fool for not understanding this sooner) confesses and returns to the state of grace for his last moments on Earth, we are all in need of God’s love and mercy. Some of us realize it sooner than others, but what is the different between those who confess sooner than later in life? God desires us all in Heaven, and Jesus died for all (those who want it) to have the opportunity to get there.
Okay, so we covered Lance Armstrong and the man who converts on his death bed, so where does Manti Te’o fit into all of this?
This one is a weird one, since there are three options:
1. He really had no clue about it. (Unlikely, but still possible).
2. He knew about it and continued the lie.
3. A little of 1 and 2.
If (we have option 1)
Then we’re done. Thanks for reading!
He continued the lie for celebrity gain. He had an awesome season and dedicated his season “in her honor”. Its argued he didn’t need to do that in order to have a great season, as he was already doing well. But, still, now that its out in the open, and the shame is coming on, maybe that is what will drive him to interior conversion to seek God’s love, mercy and forgiveness. After all, Notre Dame is a Catholic college!
As Catholics, we believe in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and we believe that when we confess all of our sins, we will be forgiven. So, we are thus required to believe that these two men (three if you count the convert on his (or her) deathbed) are able to fully repent and to receive God’s forgiveness. We can not pick and choose who will receive it and who will not. We are not called to judge, unless we want to be judged.
What’s the moral of the story? Forgive them and move on, don’t give them any more attention than that.