Earlier this week I wrote about the desire that we all want to be fully known and understood. It was prompted by Jodie Foster’s comment at the Golden Globes.
Many of us live in fear that if we are known people will not love us. We protect our innermost selves at all costs. Lance Armstrong is such a person. And before we are critical of him, we are all like that – maybe not to that extreem but we still protect our own image – sometimes at great cost.
I don’t think anyone was surprised by his admission that he doped during his cycling career. His athletic feats were just too amazing. (He is a remarkable athlete even without the dope. Anyone to beat cancer and ride in the Tour de France is a remarkable athlete. And I give him credit.) I think what was shocking was his lies. The vehemence with which he protected his lies – even to the point of destroying others. We have seen that before in leaders.
It seems that the first response is denial – to lie and see if we can get away with it. Lying always compounds the problem. Perhaps the only one Lance really fooled was himself. And he is the one who will bear the consequences.
I am reminded of what Tiger Woods said, “I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in. I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn’t apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only of myself. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me.”
Two great athletes with bright futures. Two huge falls and world-wide disgrace. Those kinds of stories have been repeated throughout history. Flawed leaders – great drama comes from such tragedies. We all have our own tragedies and dramas so we dare not stand in judgment. We are all sinners saved by grace. But we can take heed. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.”
Let us examine our own lives and where we are lying to ourselves or others, let’s begin to tell the truth. It will come out eventually. I admire folks who can come right out and own something rather than try to weasel around it. They just look like weasels!