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SIN: PRISON WITHOUT BARS

It's easy to live in denial--to live in sin and think everything is going our way. So sooner or later God gets our attention.

In 1989, Pete Rose, baseball's all-time hit leader, was banished from baseball by Major League Commissioner. [Bart Giamatti].

The commissioner had hired John M. Dowd to investigate Rose's gambling. After Dowd gathered evidence against Rose and before Rose was banished from baseball, The Commissioner told Dowd to offer Rose a generous deal: (1) admit to gambling on baseball, (2)accept temporary dismissal from the game, (3) undergo a rigorously supervised rehabilitation and eventually be reinstated.

And that wasn't all: Dowd said he got the U.S. attorney in Cincinnati to agree not to prosecute Rose on tax evasion charges if he accepted baseball's offer and paid his taxes with interest and penalties.

Remarkably, Rose rejected the offer, sued the commissioner and lost. He was later convicted of tax evasion and served five months in prison.

In his book, "My Prison Without Bars", Rose says "I felt banishment was too severe a sentence. Right or wrong, the punishment didn't fit the crime--so I denied the crime."

When the magazine "Sports Illustrated" asked Rose why he wagered, he replied, "I didn't think I'd get caught."

He also denied he even had a gambling problem, though during one, three-week period, Rose wrote 11 checks for $8,000 to a bookmaker in New York. But he never felt he had a gambling problem.

He rationalized, "I knew that I'd broken the letter of the law. But I didn't think I'd broken the spirit of the law, which was designed to prevent corruption. During the times I gambled as a manager, I never took an unfair advantage. I never bet more or less based on injuries or inside information. I never allowed my wagers to influence my baseball decisions. So in my mind, I wasn't corrupt."

The carnal Christian, is like that, he is in a "Prison without bars" - a spiritual prison.

We can easily rationalize and excuses our sin, thinking that it's not that big of deal. After all, are we not under grace?

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