Yesterday, we looked at the news regarding Lance Armstrong’s demise as a U.S. sporting icon. He may yet be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. Armstrong’s protestations of innocence are falling on increasingly deaf ears as the evidence mounts against him. Some have noted, however, that he doesn’t need to admit guilt in order to be dethroned as a champion. Partly, this is because he can be convicted on the weight of evidence but, importantly, his events were team ones and the admission of guilt of any US Postal Service team members invalidates their results and therefore Armstrong’s victories.
It must be hard to let go, though. Whilst I don’t want to pronounce guilt, as such, I think that it must be incredibly difficult for a person to amass a fortune and to revel in the glitz and glamour of a stellar career, only to lose that almost overnight. Perhaps the pursuit of success was, in the first place, a pursuit of pride. And now it all seems to be crashing down around him.
Isaiah 47:10-11 gives us an interesting insight into the pride that so often comes before a fall (which is also a biblical quote): “You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me.’ Disaster will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away. A calamity will fall upon you that you cannot ward off with a ransom; a catastrophe you cannot foresee will suddenly come upon you.”
I wonder whether, on a much smaller scale, any of us might be prone to the same failings. Lest any of us believe ourselves to be beyond reproach, human nature (with its sin and shortcomings) seems to predispose us all to the weaknesses that need us not to simply be on guard against them, but to seek the redemption of Christ who is the only salvation from the wages of that sin which bring death (Romans 6:23).