Pete Rose And Forgiveness

Pete Rose, the great ex-Cardinal baseball layer, has confessed to what he denied for 14 years. He bet on baseball weekly.

The title of his new book reveals what a person who is living a lie goes through. It is entitled “My Prison Without Bars.” He has been living a lie.

Now some sports writes are trying to put society on a guilt trip regarding whether Rose should be forgiven and allowed entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Forgiveness is a guilt trip on which many travel.

Occasionally a minister will commit a sin that stains his image and injures his entire congregation. When caught there is repentance. If it is genuine should he be forgiven? Absolutely.

Here is where complexity sets in. A fault line of controversy develops over should he be restored? The answer is a resounding “Yes.” Everyone who can should aid his restoration, but to what? To spiritually restore a person means to help restore their broken relationship with the Lord. A problem arise when some interpret restoration to mean to return the person to their former position. Not so!

Upon repentance the sin is forgiven but there is a natural consequence. Moses killed an Egyptian and repented. He was forgiven and his relationship restored with the Lord but there was a consequence. He was not allowed to enter the land of promise. David committed adultery, repented, was forgiven and his spiritual state restored. The consequence was he was not permitted to build the Temple. King Saul disobeyed God by not carrying out His battle plan against King Agag. Saul’s response when caught was basically, “OK, you got me, now let’s forget the whole thing and carry on.” A modern English street language response of God was, “Not so fast. You are fired as king.” There was a natural consequence.

The Baseball Hall of Fame has a standard which Rose does not meet. In 1927 a “permanent” ban against admission to the Hall of Fame was established to apply to persons having done what Rose did. He now admits it but the fact remains he disqualified himself by his own actions. The ban states it is “permanent.”

Simply admitting guilt does not absolve a person and mean all is right with the world. Contrition, confession, and spiritual cleansing means everything is right with the Lord. The repentant person then has the wonderful asset of God’s grace in dealing with the consequence.