(Photo: Reuters/Patrick Smith)
Before leading his team to win the Super Bowl on Sunday night, Baltimore Ravens linebacker and committed Christian Ray Lewis said God wouldn't have used him for His glory had he not been innocent in the double murder case he was involved with 13 years ago.
"If you knew… if you really knew… the way God works… He don't use people who commit anything like that for His glory," Lewis said in a taped interview aired during the CBS Super Bowl pre-game show on Sunday. "No way… It's the total opposite."
Lewis, whose involvement in a double murder case from a Super Bowl party he attended in Atlanta in 2000 has been a blemish on his character in the eyes of some, said this when asked what he would like to tell the victims' families. He said God has never made a mistake. "That's just who He is. You see? And if our system… this is the sad thing about our system… if our system took the time to really investigate what happened 13 years ago, maybe they would have got to the bottom line truth."
The saddest thing ever, the 37-year-old linebacker added, "is a man looked me in my face and told me, 'We know you didn't do this, but you going down for it anyway."
Later on Sunday, Lewis led the Ravens to beat San Francisco 49ers 34-31 to win the Super Bowl. "It's simple: When God is for you, who can be against you?" ESPN quoted him as saying as he clutched the Lombardi Trophy. "It's no greater way, as a champ, to go out on your last ride with the men that I went out with, with my teammates. And you looked around this stadium and ... Baltimore! Baltimore! We coming home, baby! We did it!"
Lewis announced last month that God had told him to retire so that he could spend time with his children.
During his sports career, Lewis – who first led Baltimore to Super Bowl glory when he was 25-years-old – has been able to reach more people in one game than many preachers have been able to their entire lives, his pastor and close friend, Dr. Jamal Bryant of the Empowerment Temple AME Church in Baltimore, Md., told The Christian Post last week.
"I'll tell anybody. One thing about God's will, you can never see God's will before it happens," Lewis told a roomful of reporters after a game last month. "You can only see at the end of it. For His will to happen this way, I could never ask for anything else."
In an interview after the Ravens dominated the Denver Broncos in a historic NFL match-up to secure their spot in New Orleans, the 13-time Pro Bowl player was asked what led him to believe that he and his teammates could win. "No weapon formed shall prosper. No weapon!" he said emotionally, quoting Isaiah 54:17. "God is amazing, and when you believe in Him ... man believes in the possible, God believes in the impossible."
However, because Lewis ended up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice in the double-murder case, some have wondered if the linebacker might have gotten away with murder. But those closest to him insist he had nothing to do with the crime.
Lewis' pastor, Bryant, points to the public's selective memory concerning one of America's most celebrated figures. "While just a week ago everyone marveled at the life of Martin King Jr., what many people don't recall and recollect is that while he was yet alive he was vilified, lived under constant duress, and threats, stress ...," the pastor said. "I think that after time that the real life and legacy and evolution of Ray Lewis will be appreciated."