“NEVER WASTE A CRISIS”

Did Donald Sterling’s Adultery Expose His Racism?

By Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Donald Sterling’s racism is well documented and has been appropriately redressed by Adam Silver, the NBA Commissioner. But his adultery has gone largely unaddressed.  No one of stature has related the impact of his adultery to this crisis.

Wasn’t Sterling’s adultery the precursor to him receiving the death penalty, as a result of his racist rant? Wasn’t it a recorded conversation with a female friend—that his wife was suing for having interfered with her marriage—the conversation that resulted in his life-time banishment from the NBA? Would he have been punished for his racism, had his racism not been revealed by his adultery? Would we even know about his racist views, if it were not for his adultery? At the root of this racial crisis is an adulterous affair.

A practical lesson that could and should be learned from the Sterling fiasco is that not only is racism unacceptable in American Society, but adultery is also damaging, destructive, and deadly to American families, and consequently society.  Those of us who are married need to steer clear of adultery. When we fail to do so, a host of other issues often surface—that are often irreversible—as a result of our willful disobedience to the laws of God, the dishonoring of our marital vows, and the disloyalty to our spouses. Sterling’s adultery is just as evil as his racism.

The decision to commit adultery has far-reaching consequences beyond the moment in time that one makes that decision. It is not just the racism that America is reeling and rocking from, that fell from the lips of Donald Sterling; but the adultery that preceded the racist rant, is also what America is now having to collectively process in our national psyche. Their private affair has caused a public nightmare. It is time for the healing to begin.

While viewing the “Jackie Robinson” recent movie, I was awestruck by the fact that Branch Ricky fired one of his team managers—Leo Durocher—for engaging in serial adultery in the 1947 era. The Catholic Church supplied pressure on Branch Ricky to dismiss Durocher because he was viewed as a poor role model.

Why is it that we had a high tolerance for racism in ’47, but a low tolerance for adultery? And, now we have a high tolerance for adultery, but a low tolerance for overt, blatant, in-your-face racism? Could it be that while we are judging the racism in the Sterling case, God is judging the adultery? Could the plight of Sterling be the plight of America if we don’t repent before it is everlasting too late?

During the Jackie Robinson era, Donald Sterling’s racism would have been accepted without much controversy. Sterling’s racism is rightfully judged as intolerable today, by many. But his adultery is accepted, or ignored, as if it is a non-issue. America and the NBA have judged his racism and rendered a verdict. But God may be judging his unrepentant adultery, in addition to his racism. The Bible says, “Be sure that your sins will find you out.”

Sterling’s sin of adultery exposed his sin of racism. America accepts Sterling’s sin of adultery, while rejecting his sin of racism. God rejects Sterling’s sins of adultery and racism.

Richard Land, Ann Coulter, and several Fox News Commentators have argued that racism is a myth. Land later apologized for his racial remarks. Sterling should do the same.

Clearly, Donald Sterling’s remarks reveal that racism in America is not a myth. Racism is alive and well. Donald Sterling, Paula Deen, and Cliven Bundy—the infamous Nevada Rancher—have painfully reminded us of this. Paula Deen also repented of her racist remarks, for which she is to be commended.

“Never waste a crisis,” is a quote often attributed to Rahm Emanuel , who served as Chief of Staff in President Obama’s first term, and currently serves as Mayor of Chicago. There are lessons to be learned about adultery from this crisis, as well as the obvious racism. If we don’t learn lesson(s) about adultery from this crisis; and if we continue to believe that racism is a myth, this could prove to be a wasted crisis.

Sterling’s adultery is equally as reprehensible as his racism. God pulled the covers off of Sterling’s racism, because Sterling would not repent of his adultery. He flaunted his adultery, and God has now judged it.

America applauds Michael Sam’s homosexuality. America gives silent approval to Donald Sterling’s adultery. Yet, we deplore Sterling’s racism.

God stands against adultery, racism, and homosexuality. Although, we give Sterling a pass on his adultery, God does not. The Sterling Case reveals the fact that America has an increasing lower tolerance for systemic racism, but a high tolerance for sexual sin. If we are going to see a change in America for the betterment of society, we are going to have to start abhorring adultery and sexual sins as much as we do racism.

Perhaps and prayerfully, Sterling will go back home to his wife, where he belongs. Had he been there all along, we would have been spared this crisis? But, Rahn Emmanuel is right: Now that we have it, we shouldn’t waste it. Everybody involved can seek and receive forgiveness, and go their way and sin no more.

Starting with me, it would do us all well to remember the words of Proverbs 6:25, 27, 28, 32, 33:

”25Do not lust after her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her allure you with her eyelids.
27 Can a man take fire to his bosom,
And his clothes not be burned?
28 Can one walk on hot coals,
And his feet not be seared?
32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding;
He who does so destroys his own soul.
33 Wounds and dishonor he will get,
And his reproach will not be wiped away.”

May God forgive, help, cleanse and deliver all of us who struggle and sometimes fail to live lives that are morally and mentally pure! May God help us to practice sexual restraint and to relate to and view others racially righteously and without any hint of racism!

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