By U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Hughes/Released [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
It's funny. When I set out to research this blogpost I started to type Ray Rice's name in a search engine, and I inadvertently typed in Ray Rat. Freudian slip? Perhaps. Whatever it was, it was an indication of how I personally feel about him (I was going to say how I feel about the man but couldn't bring myself to). I couldn't even watch the video of him punching his fiancee. So much brutality in the world. I don't need to see any more.
To get back on topic—this post isn't about what I think. It's about what God thinks of Ray Rice. Of course I don't know what God thinks. But from my subjective experience of spirituality this is what I think God might think.
He would be outraged at what Rice did. That a highly conditioned and muscled (look at the size of his bicep) would punch in the face a woman, his fiancee no less, would be abhorrent to Him, as would all violence. (Maybe God wouldn't watch the video either.) God would probably have a momentary twinge of wanting to knock the crap out of Rice. Again, like most of us. And God would certainly see that justice was served (which amazingly many are saying Rice is being scapegoated by being fired from his team and banned from football). Yes, there would be no escaping justice in God's eyes.
But any similarities to what God thought and I thought would end there. Because I think God would still love Rice—and I wouldn't. First of all, being God (granted, that is an assumption and belief that many of you don't maintain) He wouldn't be surprised by what happened. First of all because He's all-knowing, but secondly because He knows of the hardness in people's hearts. Which maybe, despite my earlier claim that God's and my opinions would separate, I would recognize in Rice too. I would recognize it because there have been times in my life that I have done abhorrent things too. Things I'm ashamed of to this day, even though they happened decades ago.
Which doesn't justify Rice's or my behavior. It just makes Rice's behavior understandable. To me anyway.
No, Rice is God's creation just as you and I are. God wouldn't be turning his back on His own. Punishment, yes. (And I think Rice will pay—as I have for my abhorrent behavior—and I don't just mean getting booted from his team and losing his salary.) Heartache, yes—God would feel heartache for what happened. But withdrawing His love, no.
Where would any of us be if God withdrew His love when we did what was abhorrent to Him? And I'm not toning down my personal repulsion to what Rice did. I'm just saying God's quite a bit different from me.
And that's a good thing. For Ray Rice—and all of us.