You’ve probably heard about the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case. A couple of high school boys, age 17 and 16, were accused of raping a 16-year-old girl who was extremely intoxicated. A big deal was made out of the fact that the boys were football players, though I have no idea why. Naturally, they claimed she gave consent to the sex acts. In the end, it was decided that she was too drunk to have consented. The boys were declared guilty, will serve time, and will be registered sex offenders.
CNN caught some flack by seeming to sympathize with the boys and their families, while giving less attention to the victim. A case like this is so emotionally charged that almost anything you say (or don’t say) will be latched onto by one side or the other. (Which begs the question: Am I going to regret writing about this?)
In addition to the crime and the resulting trauma inflicted on everyone involved, here’s what I hate: these young people will be chased to their graves by their bad choices.
The girl is a rape victim, but one who surely would do things differently if given the opportunity to relive that awful night. The boys are rapists and registered sex offenders from now on. At a time when grade point averages and proms and Friday night football games should be their primary concerns, these young people are facing a lifetime of nightmarish memories and agonizing regrets.
Think with me…
If these young people live to be 75, they will live 27,375 days. Only one of those days, poorly managed, will now bring them a lifetime of regret. In fact, it wasn’t even one day, but only a few hours.
Oh, the power of a single choice…the potential (for good or bad) of a single moment!
Solomon said it this way: “As dead flies cause even a bottle of perfume to stink, so a little foolishness spoils great wisdom and honor.” (Ecclesiastes 10:1)
Notice he says, …a little foolishness spoils. Ruin doesn’t require a lifetime of foolishness; only a day, an hour, or even a minute.
I pray for these young people, that their futures will be an improvement over their pasts. And I pray for us, that we will always remember what can be done–or undone–with a single choice.