Michael Vick was released from prison in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, this morning. He’ll serve the last two months of his sentence (for bankrolling a brutal dog-fighting operation) at his admittedly palatial Hampton, VA home. The e-mosphere (a term I’m trying to coin…electronic atmosphere) is abuzz this morning with debate about whether or not Vick should be allowed to play football again. Some thoughts: What does forgiveness mean? Jesus said that he who has been forgiven much loves much (Luke 7:47). The argument from Law
goes like this: Sure, Vick has “paid his debt to society”, but the penalty did not fit the crime. It wasn’t enough
. The Christian parallels are obvious:In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus preaches, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (38-42).It seems that this has far-reaching implications for forgiveness. Are Michael Vick’s sins so heinous that the “turn the other cheek” dictum doesn’t apply? Are we to go back to “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth?” Are there times when the popular rejoinder, “Jesus doesn’t want us to be doormats,” is true? What would it mean to forgive Michael Vick?