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March 18, 2010

The Forgiveness Thing

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

This morning, I was listening to Stephen A. Smith on FOX Sports Radio (XM Channel 142) discuss Texas Rangers’ manager Ron Washington’s “admission after the fact” that he took cocaine last year. He was caught last season in a random drug test. After talking with Rangers’ management, Washington offered his resignation. Management didn’t accept it, believing that the issue was over and that Washington was sorry for his mistake.

Smith opined that even though Washington admitted he erred and apologized, Washington still should have been fired. The fiery opinion maker (1050 ESPN Radio hasn’t been the same since Smith left) said that Washington’s actions in taking the drugs in the first place should have been cause for his release.

At one time, I would whole-heartedly agree with Stephen A. Washington is the manager of a major league baseball team and needs to be held to a higher standard.

But Rangers’ management spoke with Washington, he admitted he was wrong, and the team forgave him. It is such a rare occurrence in sports where a poor act of judgment was caught, admitted to bythe wrongdoer, and forgiveness was granted. I think that the Rangers should be given credit for showing the world the mercy that comes from forgiveness.

In Matthew 18, Jesus is asked by Peter how many times must one forgive his brother when they sin against them, suggesting that 7 times would be a sufficient total. Oh, no! cries Jesus. He says not just seven times, but 70 times 7!

And if that endless total doesn’t throw you, it is imperative that we forgive as our Lord forgives us! That means, with forgiving comes forgetting. And how many of us do that?

The Texas Rangers must get a lot of credit for forgiving Washington his grievous mistake. Oh course, they may have not forgotten Washington’s fleshly stumble and may be really angry with him behind closed doors. Yet, they publicly backed their manager, saying that this issue is water under the bridge. Nolan Ryan and the entire organization give all of us a wonderful example of forgiveness in action.

(Reposted from


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