I once was a big fan of Pete Rose. I loved the way he hustled. He was a leader who rallied the players around him to play their best. He always gave 100%.
I was shocked to discover that he bet on baseball games. His effort to be reinstated into the baseball family has been interesting. There is a lot of debate on both sides of that issue.
Today Pete Rose is selling autographed baseball paraphernalia. He hangs out at a shopping mall. He is available from noon to 5p.m. to give autographs. There is a price.
An 8×10 photo costs $75, a bat $199, and a baseball $99. A framed replica uniform can be bought for $2,000. He will even have his picture made with you as you purchase your souvenir – for an extra charge.
The sad part about this is that he is willing to write anything on your souvenir that you desire – if you are willing to pay enough money. While he was adamant that he never bet on baseball games, he is willing to write “I’m sorry I bet on baseball” above his signature. In fact, he will write most any confession for the right amount of money. He has inscribed baseballs with “I’m sorry I broke up the Beatles” and “I’m sorry I shot JFK.”
Confession is intended to be genuine. The biblical understanding of repentance is that we will have a “change of mind” – meaning that we are sorry for what we did and have no intent of doing it again. Genuine repentance is a change in our thinking and our actions.
For Pete Rose, repentance is just a means for making money. He will confess and repent for anything.
I have encountered a lot of folks who are ready to repent of something – especially when they are really down or caught in the act. They begin to promise God most anything. The sad part of this is that many of them, once they get back on their feet, are back to doing the same old things.
Many people come to church on Sunday and confess and ask for forgiveness of something, knowing that they are going right back out on Monday and do the same things again. This is just a game. I had a man tell me recently that he always comes to church in order to repent of the things he had done that week. He always leaves church feeling refreshed, but he quickly gets back into his old rut and has to go through the same routine the next Sunday.
This understanding and practice is not biblical. This is simply a game that we play. God is very serious about our sin. He greatly desires to see genuine, authentic repentance.
I John 1:9 clearly states, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Confession is not cheap. Repentance is not cheap. God’s grace is not cheap. It is not a game. It is based on the unconditional love that God has shown to us in His Son Jesus Christ. It requires a total change in our thinking, our attitude, our actions, etc.
Writing out that we are sorry for something is not for making money – it is for making a new life in Jesus Christ!!