A Great Country For Sinners

On August 24, 2012, I wrote about Lance Armstrong and whether or not he doped:

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency says yes.  He says no.  This of course has been a hot topic of debate for years.  The reason it suddenly became news is because Mr. Armstrong has now dropped out of the fight to clear his name.  He still says he’s innocent, but that he is no longer interested in carrying on the struggle.

I have no idea if he cheated or not, but I must say this seems like an odd decision for a man who is known for his endurance.

Well, now it’s official.  Lance Armstrong says he cheated.  I decided to skip the Oprah interview, and not just because finding her network on my TV is about like trying to find an honest politician.  My reason for skipping the interview is because, well, the headline “Lance Armstrong Cheated” is about as startling as “Ice is Cold” or “Rain is Wet.”  Honestly, I don’t think there’s ever been so much hoopla about an interview where the whole country already knew exactly what the interviewee was going to say.  Oprah gamely tried to hype the show the day before by saying, “He didn’t come clean the way we expected him to.”  Oh no?  I saw the clip later, where he sat in a chair and said, “Yes…yes…yes…yes..” to her questions.  I found myself wondering what on earth she expected.

Can I just tell you that I am over Lance Armstrong?

And now the question we’re faced with is, “Does Lance Armstrong deserve our forgiveness?”  Every time I turn on the news another pundit is asking me to reach deep into my soul and see if I can find the grace to forgive him.

First, forgiving Lance Armstrong is not an issue for me.  He didn’t sin against me.  I don’t know the man and will likely never meet him.  Others will certainly need to wrestle with forgiving him, but not me.  So please, news people, stop asking already!

Second, my challenge when a story like this is in the headlines is simply to ask myself what I can learn.  Honestly, in this case, not one thing.  I already knew what cheating and lying will do to a man.

I’d like to think I can now wave goodbye to Lance Armstrong for good.  Now that he’s admitted what everyone already knew or suspected, maybe we can wave to him as he rides off into the sunset.  But no, sometime next fall, just in time for Christmas, we’re going to get another heavy helping of Lance as he does the PR tour for his new tell-all book, for which he will probably get a 7-figure advance.

Is this a great country for sinners, or what?

Maybe that’s the real story.

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10 Responses to A Great Country For Sinners

  1. Charles Mason says:

    It almost makes you wonder, “do good guys finish last”. Politicians, lie, cheat and steal, and yet they retire with full pensions and health care for life. Athletes dope, cheat, and many have no morals, Tiger Woods, as an example, yet they’re multi millionaires. I don’t have any answers, but I do have many of questions.

  2. Marg says:

    When we as a country listened to our then President and accepted his lies to us all and then accepted his behavior and stood by to do nothing! Well, Armstrong does not come even close to that for me. Sometimes I wonder what will surprise me next. I am sure something will Mark

  3. Barb Paton says:

    Mark, Another great blog! When I saw the title, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as always, you hit the nail on the head. I particularly appreciated your comments on forgiveness. Our worship last week was centered around forgiveness… I wish the blog had been published before then.
    Here in StL, as you know, we dealt with the Mark McGuire issue. There was so much “carrying on” about whether or not we should forgive him. As a member of “Cardinal Nation” I questioned my need to forgive him and I drew the same conclusion. “What did he did he do to me, other than disappoint me? Absolutely nothing that needed my forgiveness.”
    Thank you again for your insight.
    Barb Paton

    • Mark says:

      Yes, Barb, I remember St. Louis wrestling with the Mark McGwire situation. Didn’t they take his name off of a highway? I thought that was unfortunate. Thanks for reading and for your comments!

  4. Holly says:

    Mark-
    Can I just tell u ur blog is wonderful:) I look forward to it every day!! U hit the nail right on the head again!!! Thanks so much:) Awesome job! Lance who????

  5. Dee Armes says:

    Mark, like most everyone else I get tired of hearing about the failure of some athlete who turns around a profits from his sin. It just doesn’t seem right that a person can do what Armstrong did and then land a juicy book deal. However, I remember Paul telling the believers in Thessalonica, “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.” (II Thess. 1: 6-7) I think I’m looking forward more to the “relief” than to the justice meted out to the lawbreakers. After all, but for grace go I.

    • Mark says:

      Very true, Dee. My comment about this being a great country for sinners was not out of longing for them to be punished, but rather an insight into why people like Armstrong feel it is safe to cheat and lie in the first place. Worst case scenario for him is he gets caught and still makes millions on a book deal and as a public speaker warning against the evils of, you guessed it, cheating and lying. Where’s the deterrent? He wins either way. It speaks to our values as a culture.

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