Receive Mercy, Give Mercy

On Saturday, September 14, ESPN’S “College Game Day” was broadcasted from Ames, Iowa prior to the football matchup between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones. During the broadcast, Carson King held up a homemade sign that could be seen in the background which read, “Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished” followed by his Venmo user name. (Venmo is a means of sending money through social media).

Kings’s phone immediately started ringing with notifications from Venmo. Within 30 minutes, the 24 year old had received donations of over $400. King was quite surprised he would receive any donations since it was intended as a joke.

After speaking with his family about it, he decided that, minus the cost of a case of Busch Light, he’d give the rest of the money to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. As word spread of his plans to donate the money, more and more people decided to contribute. Eventually, Venmo and Busch Beer offered matching funds and by Sunday morning, the contributions—including Venmo and Busch matches—had raised 1.14 million dollars and more money was still coming in.

In addition to the matching funds, Busch Beer sweetened the deal by offering King, now dubbed the “Iowa Legend” a year’s supply of Busch Light and they were going to put his picture and name on the cans of Busch Light.

King was ecstatic about reaching the one million dollar mark and now has set a goal of raising two million dollars for the Children’s Hospital by the end of the month. Kind of a cool story, right?

Well after hearing about the unfolding story, the Des Moines Register decided to send a reporter to interview King. However before doing so, the reporter dug into King’s past social media posts and discovered that when he was 16 years old, King apparently sent a racial tweet. Deciding the seven year old media post was pertinent information to the outcome of the story, the Des Moines Registered published the Tweet. Busch Beer soon heard about the young man’s foolish mistake, and although they are still going to honor their donation to the children’s Hospital, they announced they are cutting any ties with King.

Hearing that the Des Moines Register had discovered his foolish social media post of seven years ago, Carson King immediately apologized to the public for his comments. Venmo announced they have forgiven King, acknowledging we all say and do stupid things when we are young. Now there is an outcry against the Des Moines Register for ruining the story by publishing needless information.

When I reflect on the story several thoughts come to mind. Doing something as a joke can have surprising outcomes that can change your life in a hurry; be careful when doing something as a joke. Be careful what you post on social media, you never know how it might be used against you. In my opinion, for the Register to publicize King’s social media post from when he was in high school was senseless. Like the Apostle Paul, I am grateful that God doesn’t hold my past against me, but rather can use it for his glory.

Maybe the Des Moines Register could also learn a thing or two about mercy from Paul’s testimony in I Timothy 1:15-16.  “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”

There is no doubt that sometimes we will pay the price for our past sin, however I praise God that he keeps no record of my wrongs and that his love covers a multitude of sins. And may it be so with you and me that we would be quick to drop our rocks.

Grace to you and peace, Mike Altena


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