This week, Pat McQuaid, the president of U.C.I—the International Cycling Union—and Christian Prudhomme, the Tour de France’s race director, made some statements, while announcing their decision to never allow Lance Armstrong into the sport of cycling again, and also strip him of his 7 Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005. They added that no one would be elevated to the position of winner, because doping was so prevalent, they might name someone a winner who was also guilty. Here are just three of those statements.
1—“Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling; he deserves to be forgotten in cycling, Something like this must never happen again.”
2—“Armstrong’s teams had a ‘win at all costs’ attitude fueled by deceit, intimidation, coercion, and evasion.”
3—“We no longer consider Armstrong a Tour champion and the Amaury Sport Organization, the company that organizes the Tour de France, will erase Armstrong’s name from its record books. . . . Armstrong was a true talent who strayed and played with fire.”
God gathered the evidence of all of us doping our blood with disobedience. From this, we all had no place in God’s Kingdom, deserved to be forgotten, so something like us wouldn’t happen again. We were born with a win at all costs attitude fueled by deceit, intimidation, coercion, and invasion. We were no longer God’s pure creation, so He could be fully justified in erasing us from His book, because we were all true talents who strayed and played with fire. But—He didn’t. God had a different plan, a choice to offer us.
This decision regarding Armstrong is yet another opportunity for us as Christian men to learn from humanity, specifically men who place “winning” above all else, and remind ourselves that “there but for the grace of God go I.”
Whether it’s blood doping, steroids, addiction, affair, violence, lies, materialism, ego, abuse, gambling, power, porn, even passivity, or any combination of the above, we all have our area of fatal flaw.
Howard Hendricks once said, “Satan will lie in the weeds for forty years to entrap one of God’s servants. He is patient, he will wait, and he will watch for just the right moment—a moment that will do the greatest damage to the Kingdom of God.”
As we watch, read, and weigh in on the lunch meeting and Facebook discussions about this cyclist wiped from the books, let’s use it as a reminder that we too can quickly be in Lance Armstrong’s cycling shoes, should any of us decide to stray again and play with fire.
At one time all of us lived to please our old selves. We gave in to what our bodies and minds wanted. We were sinful from birth like all other people and would suffer from the anger of God. But God had so much loving-kindness. He loved us with such a great love. Even when we were dead because of our sins, He made us alive by what Christ did for us. You have been saved from the punishment of sin by His loving-favor. —Ephesians 2:3-5 NLV