Today the world took a jolt. At least my world did. Michael Vick, quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, accepted a deal to plead guilty on dogfighting charges. Honestly, as I type this, I find myself fighting tears.
While growing up, my mother was a United Kennel Club judge. My family bred, raised, and trained dogs. Less than a year of my life has been spent without a dog as a family member. To me, the world of dogfighting is too heinous to fathom, and the details that have surfaced about Mr. Vick’s specific dogfighting enterprise are nightmarish. I won’t hide the fact that when I first read the charges against Mr. Vick and his co-defendants and the details of the cruelty used, my first thought was, “God, if he did this, I hope they crucify him.”
Then the most powerful, humbling Truth resounded in my mind as God said simply, “I did. I put him on a cross and let him die there the same time I crucified you. Only at that time, they just called y’all Jesus.”
At that moment, I felt ashamed for my quick judgment and doling out punishment that was mine to have as well. I also felt excited.
It is easy to look at Michael Vick and read the stomach-turning details to which he is pleading guilty and see the obvious depravity of his heart, soul, and mind. It is easy to look at his NFL career and potential and get an idea of how far he has fallen. The worldly details and view are open for all to see. However, I am excited because my God is not bound by worldly details but rather acts despite them.
If you’ve ever read the Bible, you are familiar with some folks who have fallen and fallen hard. King David was given all Israel, the jewel of God, to reign, and David was fascinated by another man’s wife. Peter was a man who walked on the sea, and then denied the One who picked him up when he started to sink. There was a guy named Saul who had the perfect upbringing and training, a guy who knew the law and the requirements of God, and missed it so badly that he killed the followers of Christ. I could go on, but I don’t need to. I have a mirror. I know how far people can fall. I also know God’s arm is not too short to reach them.
Even after David’s adultery, God referred to him as a “man after My own heart.” Peter was restored and walked in so much power that people who were touched by his shadow were healed. Saul traded in his knowledge and name for revelation and relationship. We know him as Paul. Me? I have my own testimony to the greatness of God’s love and mercy.
I have read for several years now about Michael Vick’s potential, and it is great. Some say “was”. I would say those folks are looking at the world because potential is determined by divine plan, not man’s sin. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and yet, God says that His plans and purposes for us are good, full of hope, and offering a future. Obviously, God has not written off Michael Vick. Can he still be as great as he could have been? To suggest less is to call God a liar and a charlatan.
People who think Michael Vick cannot rise to that from which he has fallen does not understand God. God does not desire to raise Michael Vick to that platform again. Instead, He desires to raise him to greater levels of influence, power, and godliness. The power Michael Vick had was false power stemming from a false identity and sense of importance. Only someone who is insecure in their power could demean themselves into training and killing innocent animals. What kind of sense of power does one gain from training mindless creatures to respond to cruelty in such a way that they would kill? A person who is secure in their abilities, purpose, and power does not need to create an environment in which they are the all-powerful one. What is a quarterback? The leader. The one in charge. The head of the team. The decision maker. The one with the control.
Michael Vick came from a background of insecurity and instability, and he created environments that allowed him power and control. He became a god in his own world by using the potential God placed inside him. God Almighty will never allow people with great talent, purpose, and gifts to live in a world where they can use those things to destroy themselves without intervening as a loving Father who desires fullness for His creation.
Some may look at what has happened to Michael Vick as God’s judgment. Yes, it is. However, in the book of Romans, we are told that the law is there to show us our wrongs in order to point us in the other direction. This judgment is not for Michael Vick’s downfall and destruction. This is for his salvation, healing, and wholeness.
Right now, this judgment-the loss of NFL status, freedom, and reputation- seems harsh, but what is more harsh for one’s false sense of value to crash and deal with the temporary consequences in the natural or for God to turn His back and let a person go to hell?
I don’t know how this will ultimately play out. However, I do know God loves Michael Vick, and Michael Vick is not so far in the pit that God’s arm is too short to reach him. I know God has a great plan for Michael Vick, and I know the enemy has tried to steal that. So far, he has been successful, but the Lord has delivered a mighty blow, and we are seeing lies of the enemy fall.
It is heartbreaking. It is also exciting.
It is always heartbreaking to see someone in captivity, but oh, the joy when the walls begin to crumble and prison is shown for what it is because then, and only then, can freedom be seen and embraced in its fullness.
So, yes, there was a jolt in my world today. What I had dreaded as a day of gloom and despair has shone forth with glory, potential, and promise. The lie has been revealed by the Truth, and now great things can be built where only imaginations existed before. I love when God clears out the junk to make room for the treasure, and that is what happened today.
Michael Vick needs prayer. He needs to see the Truth. He needs to see himself as he was created to be. He needs to see the Ultimate Potential he was designed to show.
Yes, it is easy to point fingers and be sickened by the accounts given concerning the dogfighting business. We should be sickened by it, but we have to remember, one Man was crucified on one crss for all. It wasn’t just a dogfighting business that put Him there, and it isn’t just dogfighting that puts us in our own personal prisons. Thankfully, though, that One Man was enough for us all. Now all anyone has to do is walk out of the rubble of the lie and embrace the Truth, and that is the same for Michael Vick, me, or you.
Dear God, you have the freedom to destroy any prisons I have created, even when all I see is the destruction of the “life” I thought was real. Open my eyes to see the freedom You have set before me to live in all the Potential and Truth You have declared over me and into me. Thank you for crucifying me under the name “Jesus”, and thank you for loving me too much to let me live a lie. When the facades fall, give me vision to see the Truth, and when folks don’t understand, fingers of judgment point my way, and criticism comes forth, give me the boldness to keep my eyes on You. Do not let me settle for less than Your best. Thank You for Your infinite mercy and Your even greater love.