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Guilty as charged

Steve Smith was and perhaps still is destined to be one of the greatest

batsmen ever and has proved to be a brilliant captain for Australia and yet in a moment of madness and desire to win, together with others, hatched the plan to win by tampering with the ball. Unfortunately the bowler's crime was for all to see and broke one of the 10 commandments of cricket 'fair play', which relates most closely to 'you shall not steal' of the actual 10 commandments.

The 'sword of Damocles' and judgement is already falling upon the career and life of Steve Smith. But there is one redeeming feature of this story which is writ large in English law and that is, when a party pleads that they are guilty the sentence is usually less than if they plead not guilty and are subsequently proved guilty.

Steve Smith presumably with courage and remorse immediately said that above everyone it was his fault. For the moment at least this will do little to assuage the ire of the Australian public, press and politicians.

And so for us? What can we expect from our Father in heaven when we plead guilty before His heavenly court over some misdemeanour? The result is very different. For Heaven knows that our mistakes or misdemeanours only sign up a deeper problem of hapless rebellion from heavenly rule. Where we confess sincerely, with regret and before our Father then not only does forgiveness flow, but our judge who also was the one judged in our place on the cross, at our invitation, will come and live by His Spirit in our mortal beings. This awakens our spirits so that we have a life and power that not only is sufficient to match up to an urgent temptation that Steve Smith found himself assailed by, but is sufficient, yes, to fulfil the laws of fair play, but to go beyond them so that our lives are marked by a grace, love and winsomeness that surpasses any earthly laws of right and wrong.

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