This has not been a good summer for sports, in my opinion. First of all, Barry Bonds got his 756th homer. Breaking the record of the Atlanta Braves’ legendary Hank Aaron, Bonds’ prestigious record comes, as many of you know, with an asterisk. An asterisk is that interesting grammarian’s tool which lets the readers know that something’s up. In Bonds’ case, it is the alleged use of banned steroid drugs which “pumped up” his physique, thereby giving him a sort of “bionic” advantage. Then, if that whole story hasn’t been enough, Atlanta Falcons, and one time Virginia Tech, quarterback, Michael Vick, has been indicted on federal charges concerning dog fighting. I am told that this story has drawn more ire from the fans than previous cases involving rape and abuse. Apparently, some people have a visceral response to someone hurting an animal that exceeds the hurting of a human. But that is another story. The story before us is that yet another sports figure will leave a legacy marred by the asterisk.
While I am a bit upset, as a sports fan, about all of this hooliganism which takes the spotlight away from the game and places it in the courtroom and the hearing room, I have to admit: I know what it is like to live with an asterisk. You see, I am a recovering sinner. I once sought to live life by pumping myself up with steroid-like things, like ambition, pride and self-centeredness. And my heart has been filled with things that would make Michael Vick’s dog fighting sins look like the Westminster Kennel Club show.
But here is the Good News: While I will always have an asterisk that includes the brokenness of sin, I now have an asterisk that includes the righteousness of Christ.
Yes, I live my life with an asterisk, but thank God I now have a Savior in that asterisk.
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5.8 ESV)
I thank God that He is not ashamed of me, that He had a plan for dealing with that asterisk, and that He loved me, an “asterisk man,” and so identified with me that His life and blood covers and transforms the asterisks of my life.