Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Ray Rice Footage Frenzy

It's the sports story of the hour, and it has nothing to do with playing a game.  It has everything to do with a 3 minute clip of surveillance footage that shows NFL player Ray Rice striking his then fiancee. The blow is delivered violently as the victim, a female, succumbs to its forceful impact.  It is a moment of ugliness that I'm not sure prime-time television was ready for and I know I wasn't.  But the footage was shown and every known and unknown tv/radio spokesperson is commenting on it publicly in hopes of stirring up viewers/listeners, pushing ratings, and being the first to report any new developments.  If there is a silver lining to this story its bringing domestic abuse awareness to the masses. 

Some of the comments made by tv/radio commentators are almost as ugly as the blow.  I have yet to hear one voice talking about the forgiveness the victim has shown Ray since the incident.  In a nationally televised CNN segment following the incident which happened earlier this year , with his mother, father-in-law and the victim his fiancee Janay Palmer, Ray apologized, took responsibility for his actions and asked forgiveness from all those he'd hurt.  Janay accepted the apology whole-heartedly and married the man not long thereafter.

But this week's footage swipes all that love and forgiveness away as quickly as a turnover in football. In March, Ray had admitted to losing it and behaving very badly while Janay admitted to regretting playing a role in the the incident.  They'd apparently moved on with their lives the past six months, until this new surveillance video footage, taken from inside the elevator, was revealed this week catching everyone by surprise.  The couple has moved on, but viewers are stuck on what they've only recently seen and are In Total Shock!

The camera footage has given all of us a front row seat to one of the ugliest domestic violence incidents ever caught on tape. It is sickening to watch.  Now we as the viewing audience, conditioned to judge, blame and scream for revengeful eye-for-an-eye justice, have stormed the castle with torches lit, asking for heads to roll in the wake of this new revelation. 

We are asking questions of the police, courts, NFL and anyone remotely involved in the decision to treat Ray Rice like a first-time offender given a chance to remedy himself and his relationship, we are asking how could you have let this monster off the hook.

I'll say it since this is my blog. I believe Ray Rice was sincere in his apology and commitment to becoming a better father, husband and role model. Had the incident been a regular pattern of abuse I'm sure some camera would've caught Ray on tape again behaving badly in the months since the elevator incident.

I know I'll receive nasty comments and possibly threats from those carrying the torch of angry revenge, but I'm a God-fearing man who tries desperately to forgive those who trespass against us. Forgiveness is not an easy task. It is much easier to penalize and punish those who offend us so, than to forgive and learn from their faults. We all come up short in the eyes of God.

For those treating this like the crime of the century I ask who have you hurt lately?  It may have been with your words, your attitude, your negligence, your selfishness, your anger or your unforgiving.  Who did you trespass against recently? Well at least it won't be televised.  You can thank your God for that. Ray Rice just might be the sacrificial lamb for our modern day societal transgressions.

But the blessings may outweigh the babble as it appears to me that Ray and Janay have forgiven each other and are working their way toward a healthy, long-lasting and loving future together.  If they can survive the vehement criticisms and accusations of what must of been the worse moments of their lives caught on tape, then I applaud them for holding dearly to their love for their God and one another.  It is moments like these that true believers turn to their faith for strength and guidance, while those believing in lesser Gods turn to hate.

Praying Up Ray & Janay

John 8:7
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."

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