Zero Tolerance

January 24, 2002
by Jim Taylor

College basketball is really big in the United States, and, in September 2000, the college basketball world was shaken when Bobby Knight, the long-time head coach of Indiana University was fired. To some, his firing was unconscionable, but to others, it was simply "about time".

Coach Knight had barely escaped being fired several months before, but the president of the university determined to allow him one last chance. A zero tolerance policy was instituted, and was conveyed, not only to the coach, but to the media as well. After several additional incidents occurred, the president contacted Coach Knight by phone, and informed him of his dismissal. The incidents and the firing were announced to the public at a press conference.

During a television interview a few days later, the coach stated, "Nobody ever explained to me what zero tolerance meant." He went on to say, "I don't think I had a chance to abide by the rules." And while he wanted to coach again "in the worst way", he was then without a job. [He has since been coaching at Texas Tech.]

Regardless of our feelings towards Coach Knight, his story can certainly help us gain some insight into the marvellous grace of our magnificent God.

Imagine standing before God if there were a zero tolerance policy in effect. One slip-up, one sin, and we are doomed, that is, fired from the family of God, ousted from God's heaven, eliminated from eternity with God. But this is not the case for the followers of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:8-10 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)

When we stand before God, we will not face a zero tolerance judge. And while we fall short of abiding by all of God's rules, we will face a God who grants us grace through our faith in Jesus Christ. Praise be to God!

Prayer: Our Father, thank You for Your grace, Your marvellous grace, that is greater than all our sins. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Jim Taylor
Rocky Mount, North Carolina, USA

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