My Heroine: Marion Jones

Marion Jones is still one of my greatest heroes despite her recent admission to doping for the 2000 Olympics. Click here. I want to tell these stars, these athletes who get caught doing stupid things, that I still love them. We are all human, we all fall, we all do stuff we wish we’d never done. Why are we so hard on our celebrities? Why do we hold them to higher standards than we hold our next neighbor? ourselves? I often wonder what it would be like to be in that type of limelight. I wonder how much pressure I could take before I would use drugs, before I would sell out, before I would fall.

I said before I still love her. I think such is grace. Grace means we love people who aren’t who we thought they were. We love them and we help them up when they fall, we clean their skinned knees, and we hold their elbow until they can walk again on their own.

What we don’t do, if we believe in grace, is say bad things about them, pull every last skeleton from their closets, and ridicule their existences. For that matter, we don’t do that to our friends or family who disappoint us either.

Grace is unconditional love. We love even though that person doesn’t deserve it. If they deserved it, it wouldn’t be grace! The thing about grace is that it somehow got watered down.

In the Jewish scriptures the concept of grace of forgiveness was so much more than what we perceive it to be today. Today we think of grace with a New Testament (Second Covenant) concept in which we as the forgiver are asked by Jesus to forgive unlimitedly. Great. But we also couple that with the idea that we are to forgive and forget. You know the Audio Adrenaline song says our sins are on the ocean floor.

The idea of forgiveness or grace in Jewish scriptures is much more complicated. There is this word nasa, which means to lift or carry. Basically we are given the example through several stories that we are to lift or to carry our offenders sins onto our own shoulders and carry them. Both the offender and the forgiver carry the sin together. So for example, if your daughter gets pregnant out of wedlock, if you truly forgive her, you will help her carry her burden by supporting her, by walking with her in public, by physically placing yourself in her shoes to the furthest extent possible. You literally are forced to remember the person’s sin, but you are also forced to help carry the burden of it.

Imagine how freeing it would be for others if we were to start living by this idea of grace. Would we ever have to worry about gossip? No, because everyone’s sin would be our own. We would lift, and help to carry, the sins of the world. If we all helped it would be a light load.

So, I may buy a Marion Jones shirt on E-Bay. I have her book. She makes me happy. Would she have been the fastest woman on earth without the drugs? We’ll never know, but what we do know is that she has fallen, has skinned knees, and might need some help up.

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