Lessons from the Sweater Vest Scandal

Well, every Ohio State fan has probably been disgusted at the turn of events that happened this week for the football program.  No one loves to see their favorite team at the center of a scandal.  I must admit for a long time I’ve admired Jim Tressel.  He has always seemed to be someone who carries himself with class and integrity.  I hate to see him step down as coach, and I do hope he gets to coach again.

With that said, there is a great lesson at the center of this scandal.  It’s one that the Bible teaches as well in both the O.T. and the N.T.

“But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Luke 8:17

For the longest time I didn’t want to accept that Jim Tressel had really done anything wrong.  It seems a shame that these players broke the NCAA rules, and Jim Tressel loses his job over it.  But, the real problem for Jim Tressel was the moment he CONCEALED the violations.  His sin was “lying” to the NCAA about the violations by not telling them about it.  I am not trying to bash Jim for this.  He has lost enough over it, and I’m sure he has felt the conviction of lying.

But just like Jim, how many people live every day with the knowledge of their sins, but never think they will come into the light?

How many guys think they can cheat on their spouse and no one will find out?
How many students think they can abuse alcohol on the weekends and no one will ever know?
How many business owners think they can cheat on their taxes and no one will be the wiser?

Here’s the problem with hiding your sin…It begins to destroy you from the inside out.  Sin is destructive by nature. The longer you leave sin hidden, the more opportunity it has to destroy your conscience, your relationship with God and those around you.

And the real truth is that eventually…your sin will be exposed.  The longer you wait, the more consequences you will face…the more destruction it will do to your life, reputation or relationships.  It needs to be addressed before it does irreparable damage.

As for my thoughts on how this affects football…Ultimately, I hope the NCAA changes some of their ridiculous rules. These athletes should be able to sell things to help pay bills or to help their family out or even to buy tattoos.  None of these infractions gave the Buckeyes an edge on the playing field.  But the rules are the rules, whether you agree with them or not.  And when you break them, there are consequences.

Just as Jim Tressel felt the consequences of breaking the NCAA rules, so we will feel the consequences for breaking God’s laws.  In the end, it’s always better to come clean, ask forgiveness and seek restoration!

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