Last night I gave my testimony in a church in Ontario, Canada. Usually when I give my testimony, I follow it up with Q&A. I enjoy the dialogue over the monologue, especially with younger people. I’m typically asked some very good questions, and the groups aren’t shy about asking some penetrating questions. Last night I was asked a question that I generally don’t hear.
Towards the end of the Q&A, one of the young men asked me if I think my name should be removed from the record books. The question implies that anyone that cheats should have their names removed from MLB’s records. If you’ve not heard my testimony or don’t know my story, I used steroids for most of my major-league career. Go here to watch or listen to my story.
This young man was essentially asking me if my name should be removed from the record books because I cheated. Is it cheating if it’s not against the rules? At that moment, I answered his question from a baseball perspective. I explained that removing somebody’s name from the record books, even if they cheated, would be complicated to say the least. I gave the example that if I pitched in a game, what would you do with my name just erase it? If you did that what about the guy that hit a home run off me? Would you just erase his name as well? This doesn’t work very well. Hence, we are stuck with all those of us that cheated in the so-called “Steroid Era.”
It certainly got me thinking about Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 10. “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up” (10:23). In my case, using steroids under MLB rules was technically lawful, i.e. there was no rule against me using them. Certainly my purchasing them on the black market and using them without a doctor’s prescription was illegal as well as violating a variety of other laws that I’m currently unaware of — but under MLB’s laws or lack thereof, I could use them.
There are many things we run across on a daily basis that are not illegal for us, but certainly would not be edifying in light of God’s Word. In particular, this young man’s question about removing my name from MLB record books was something that made me think about my salvation in Jesus. Not just think about it — but praise God for never removing my name from His record book: the Book of Life. God has the right to remove me from His book every time I violate His Word, commandments, or principles. But thank God He doesn’t remove His children every time we lack love for God and/or our neighbor!
Every time we sin against the Word of God, we should give praise to our Savior who reckons us righteous before a holy, righteous and sovereign God. Believer, think of these encouraging words when you repent of a sin because your repentance is a sign that your name is still written in the Book of Life and the life, blood and resurrection of Christ is eternally binding: “All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost” (John 17:10-12, my emphasis).
Be encourage brothers and sisters even in the midst of our many sins, God will never let us go — He will never remove our names from His record book. Amen!