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Last week was a bad week for bad boys.
First, 51-year-old Bobby Petrino, at the height of his career, got himself fired as the University of Arkansas football coach for allegedly trying to deceive the university’s athletics director about the coach’s relationship with the 25-year-old football employee and former volleyball player, Jessica Dorrell.
Then 11 Secret Service agents were placed on administrative leave for allegedly being involved with prostitutes in Cartagena, Columbia, while preparing for President Obama’s visit.
Petrino, the father of four, was one of the top coaches in college football. It took years of successful steps before he could stand in that exclusive realm.
And those secret service agents worked long and hard to gain their honored positions in the Secret Service, an elite group whose job it is to protect the president and other high-ranking officials.
Now, the University of Arkansas is embarrassed by Petrino’s actions, just as the Secret Service is by those agents.
Why would these men take such a risk?
There’s a scene in the movie “The Help” where concerned friends are trying to set up Skeeter Phelan (Emma Stone) with a man. The two are making conversation at a restaurant, waiting for their double-date partners to arrive, and already, Skeeter’s date is half drunk and making rude comments. Skeeter, the unsouthern southern girl, wastes no time in telling him what she thinks about him. As she stands up to walk away, she asks, “I’m sorry, but were you dropped on your head as an infant?”
Maybe someone should ask Petrino and the Secret Service agents the same question.
More pointedly, why do men do such incredibly stupid things? After all, Petrino and the 11 men in the Secret Service are only the last in a long line of men who have done stupid things: Tiger Woods, Rick Pitino, Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Edwards are only a starter list for a huge catalog of names that stretches across history.
It can be traced all the way back to the original stupid guy: Adam.
From the time Adam took the forbidden fruit from Eve, men have been trying to please women. The problem is, men seem to get confused about which woman to please. Thus, tempted by the fruit of another, men mistakenly imagine the new fruit is different and therefore better than what they already have.
And one bad decision leads to another.
But, where Adam started it, Jesus stopped it, or at least he gave us reason to hope we could. And he understood that we’ve all done things we’ve later regretted.
He stood up for one who was about to be stoned to death for getting involved in one of those stupid things. Two people were caught in the very act of adultery; it was only the woman who was dragged before the moral majority. That’s when Jesus intervened: “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone” (John 8:7).
One by one those arrogant men lowered their heads, dropped their stones and walked away.
The only one without sin that day turned to the woman and refused to condemn her. Then he left her with a command: “Go and sin no more,” he admonished.
That’s the seemingly impossible challenge: stop doing stupid things.
But, he who issued the command gives us himself, and in him, we discover the possibility of fulfilling it.
That should give hope to all of us, bad boys and bad girls.