Monday, May 12, 2014

Donald Sterling And Forgiveness

Most of us have heard by now of Donald Sterling.  He's the owner of the L.A. Clippers, a professional basketball team.  Recently, all of the headlines were about racially offensive comments he made.  He has been fined, banned from the NBA, and told to "get out!" by most people in the league.

Over the weekend, Sterling was interviewed on CNN.  Basically, he admitted what he said was wrong.  Here is part of what he said:  "I made a terrible mistake.  I'm here to apologize."  

So, what will become of Donald Sterling?  His racially insensitive comments were obviously wrong and hurtful.  There's no denying that.  And yet, he now apologizes for it.  What are we to do?

Some people will never forgive him.

Others will forgive him and put the whole experience behind them.

I've learned these two lessons in my life:

(1). God forgives.  All of the ugly, wrong things we think, say, and do can be wiped away and erased by our Lord when we confess and repent before Him.  Even mean-spirited, racially offensive comments are forgiven by Him.  God can more than handle the ugly messes we make in our lives.  He can forgive you, me, and Donald Sterling.  And thank goodness for that!

(2). We are to forgive each other with humble hearts.  It's important to remember that none of us are perfect, and all of us have needed forgiveness at some point in our lives.  We all are flawed, imperfect sinners in need of another chance.  So who are we to deny the Donald Sterlings of the same forgiveness that we too have asked for and received along the way?

Obviously, there are consequences for our wrongdoings.  At times we do have to pay a price for the foolish choices we make.  And this is true even when we receive forgiveness.  But in the midst of consequences, we can still receive love and compassion from God and other people.

Paul put it this way in Ephesians 4:32 - "Be kind and compassionate to one another another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."   What a good rule to live by.  Forgiveness is a golden virtue.

As for me, yes, I can forgive Donald Sterling.  Of course he did wrong.  But, in other ways, I've done plenty of wrong things in my life as well.  I've received forgiveness before from God and from other people.  So it's pretty obvious to me that I should extend Mr. Sterling the same blessing.

God forgives us.  And we in return must forgive each other.  That's just how things should be.


  1. Yes, Tina! You're right. What a wonderful gift God's forgiveness is for us all.