Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Jones after her loss in Beijing
In some way, Lolo Jones life for the past four years has been defined by regret. During the Beijing Olympics, Jones was on her way to  a gold medal. On the cusp of victory, Jones tripped over the 9th of 10 hurdles, and ended up finishing in seventh place.
If you visit her website, amid a flurry of pictures of the photogenic Jones, one will find this phrase: 
I'm inspired by failure. The process of defeat – picking yourself back up again is the hardest thing in the world.

Perhaps the most difficult advice to take is your own. Yesterday, Jones placed Fourth in the hurdles. No medal. Olympic dreams delayed yet again.

What makes this loss so difficult is the amazing build-up that preceded it. Jones was not even favored to win, but you wouldn't know that from the flurry of magazine covers, interviews, and sponsorships that accompanied Jones on her way to the Olympics. When Jones placed fourth, it was like a much hyped moving crashing at the box office.
I was made aware of Jones loss via facebook. Her update? "In room singing Desert Song by Hillsong. Lord Jesus please comfort me, guide me, and heal my broken heart..."(sic)

Jesus. Actually, Jesus is very relevant here, for it is in the story of Jesus that we see two ways to handle regret. Judas represents one way; Peter the other.

Both Judas and Peter forsook or betrayed Christ in their own way. Judas traded Jesus life for 30 pieces of silver; Peter denied knowing him. Both expressed regret. Matthew 26:75 tell us that he went outside and "wept bitterly." Yet, his grief didn't consume him, at least no to the point of death. We know how the story ends. Jesus, after his resurrection, intentionally approaches Peter, giving him the work of "feeding his sheep."

Judas, on the other hand, took his life into his own hands.
According to Matthew

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
The question I have always asked is,  What would have become of Judas had he waited those three days? What conversation would he and Jesus had? Think of the joy that would have gripped him -joy deeper than remorse unto death.

Scripture warns us against such sorrow.According to  Paul, writing in second Corithians,  godly sorrow "brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret." Worldly sorrow, on the other hand, " brings death."

I don't know what Lolo Jones is feeling. But, my hope for her is that she is not consumed, that she overcomes.

Because who knows what joy awaits her on the other side.