Bobby Petrino and the Lesson of Good Friday

Posted: April 6th, 2012 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

My two favorite college football teams have been rocked by scandals in the past seven months. First, it was Penn State. Jerry Sandusky, a former defensive coordinator, was accused of sexually assaulting young boys. University trustees felt head coach, Joe Paterno, didn’t do enough to stop Sandusky, so they fired him. Joe died of lung cancer a couple months later.

Then earlier this week, Arkansas head coach, Bobby Petrino, was involved in a motorcycle accident. He suffered four broken ribs, a cracked vertebrae and some cuts and bruises on his face. What wasn’t known until yesterday was that he’d also had a passenger with him, 25 year-old, Jessica Dorrell, a young woman he’d recently hired to work in the football program. Last night, Petrino admitted to an “inappropriate relationship” with her. Petrino is now on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of athletic director, Jeff Long’s, investigation.

I was saddened and disappointed by the Penn State situation and I feel the same way now. If there’s one lesson that comes from these two situations, it’s this: sin destroys.

Bobby Petrino, despite a 21-4 record over the past two seasons, could end up losing his job. He has brought shame and embarrassment on himself, his family and the University of Arkansas. And sadly, the woman with whom he had the “inappropriate relationship” was engaged to be married soon. The website that contained the details of her wedding has now been taken down.

Sin destroys. It destroys us and those around us. The consequences may not always be immediate or even noticeable, but that only means sin is doing it’s destructive work unnoticed, in secret. For now anyway.

Sin destroys. It’s a promise.

Before the nation of Israel crossed the Jordan River to occupy the land God had promised to them, Moses told them:

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other. Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time. (Deuteronomy 4:39-40)

God’s commands aren’t meant to rob of us of a good time, they’re meant to provide for us and protect us. They teach us how to live so that “it may go well” with us. The Author of life knows best how it should be lived. He knows that when we stray from Him and go our own way, the result is destruction. We see that destruction all around us, everyday.

There is good news though.

Today is Good Friday. It’s the day Jesus was betrayed and unjustly put to death. It’s the day my sin was put on the One who knew no sin. Jesus was put to death for the sin I committed. He took the punishment I had earned. He took my punishment and in exchange gave me His right standing before His Father.

I deserved death, but was given life.

I was an enemy of God, but through the death of Jesus, I became His child and His friend. I have peace with God through Christ.

What sin destroys, God redeems.

Yes, sin is destructive and carries with it consequences, but God is greater than the destructive force of sin. And He can even take the terrible consequences of our sin and use them for our ultimate good…if only we will turn from going our own way and begin to walk according to His ways.

Should Bobby Petrino still be allowed to coach the Arkansas Razorbacks? Well, he doesn’t really deserve to, does he? How can he, with any credibility, tell his players to be men of character after he betrayed the trust of his wife, his supervisor and the people of Arkansas?

But you and I are also guilty of betrayal, aren’t we? We betrayed Jesus. And instead of the punishment we deserve, by grace we’ve received forgiveness.

I don’t know what should happen with Coach Petrino. I just know I’m not able to throw the first stone. I’m a man in need of grace myself.

My hope is that Coach Petrino would come to know the forgiveness of Christ, because I care far more about his soul and his marriage than about how many games he wins.

“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36)

A Master’s Marriage

Posted: April 11th, 2010 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Phil Mickelson just won the 2010 Master’s. He held off Lee Westwood by a few strokes to win his third green jacket.

The golf was great, but the best moments came during the 18th hole. Phil was finishing out the win on the green while his wife Amy and their three children watched. The camera kept cutting to shots of Amy smiling and wiping tears from her eyes.

After Phil won, he walked off the green and hugged Amy. It was a long, emotional, heartfelt hug. This was the first tournament she’d attended since being diagnosed with breast cancer.

A number of years ago, Bill McCartney, former football coach of the University of Colorado and founder of Promise Keepers,  said, “Nothing tells you more about a man than what you see in his wife. When you look into the countenance of a man’s wife, you will see everything he has invested or withheld. You will see what kind of character he has.”

I really don’t know anything about Phil Mickelson, but it looks to me like his character and his marriage are every bit as strong as his golf game.

Pain Is Weakness Leaving Your Body

Posted: June 20th, 2009 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Other | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

I don’t know who first said that. Probably the Marines.

Years ago when Robyn and I owned a personal training facility, we had one particular client (we’ll call her Susan) who’s goal seemed to be the avoidance of pain at all costs. Susan had certain exercises she liked and had a certain level of resistance she would tolerate. Increasing the resistance was out of the question. Week after week, month after month, it was the same thing.

Once in awhile, I would try to sneak in a little extra resistance on an exercise, but Susan would feel it and politely ask that the additional resistance be removed. As you can imagine, Susan’s results were less than stellar because she would not endure the necessary pain.

I really wish there was another way. I really do prefer pleasure and comfort. I don’t like to hurt. But to get faster, stronger, quicker, better or to lose weight and get healthier…pain is required. Just no way around it.

James 1:2-4 says:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

It can be painful when our faith is tested, but it’s the training program for developing perseverance, which leads to maturity.

So how might this look in your life today?

If you need to be more patient, God is not going to zap you with more patience. He’s going to put you in situations that will require patience. If you need to learn to love unconditionally, then God may give you unlovable people to love. If you need stronger faith, He will orchestrate circumstances so you must trust Him.

None of those scenarios are easy. Often they’re painful, just like working out, but whatever you’re facing today–don’t quit. Is it a financial struggle? Loss of a job? A serious illness? A marriage that seems hopeless?

Pain is strengthening your character and conforming you to the image of Christ. Don’t resist it. Don’t run from it. It won’t last beyond what you can bear.

Pain is weakness leaving your body. Pain is also weakness leaving your character.