As the release of a new movie with former action heroes (The Expendables 2) comes to theaters, a different type of latter-day hero seems to be on the path to being dethroned. Word came out last night that Lance Armstrong would no longer fight charges that he used performance enhancing drugs in order to become the most successful cyclist in the history of the Tour de France.
Rumors had spread for years about Armstrong’s enhanced performance, but tests continued to show that Armstrong was clean. But then his former teammates began talking. First Floyd Landis in 2010, and then Tyler Hamilton in 2011, accused Armstrong of taking the PED’s. Armstrong continued his vigorous denials up until yesterday, when he said he would no longer keep up the fight. (there are many articles out today about this, this link leads to several sources for more information: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/more-sports/lance-armstrong-stripped-tour-de-france-titles-lifetime-ban-olympic-sports-drops-doping-appeal-article-1.1143295).
No matter how I feel about Lance Armstrong overcoming testicular cancer to become a successful cyclist, this decision will certainly taint his reputation and result in the loss of all of his awards. Some today have argued that he should continue to fight to keep his reputation in tact. According to one source, now Armstrong lives not with the satisfaction of a life given to overcoming obstacles, but with the handle of being labeled a career liar (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/more-sports/lance-armstrong-worldwide-lie-exposed-opts-challenge-doping-charges-brought-article-1.1143443).
Paul the Apostle wrote of running the race, but finishing with one’s values kept in place: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have remained faithful” (2 Timothy 4:7 NLT). To Paul it was about keeping the faith and following his values, no matter what this meant. He does not say that he won the race, but that he finished it. This is an important distinction.
I remember in another setting asking students to tell me about some of the heroes in their lives. Who were the moral leaders in their lives to whom they could look up, and who were positive examples to them, after all of the fallen leaders and pastors and others who failed to make the grade. I was surprised to hear many of them mention their parents as those models. In that setting, with several home-schooled students, I thought this was an easy answer.
But personally I know as a parent it’s not that easy living your beliefs in front of your children. it is often easy in a work or community service role to act a certain way. but in front of those whom know you the best you cannot hide the truth. A mentor once told me that, “we teach what we believe, but we reproduce who we are.” What am I reproducing today? It may not represent the glory of a former movie action hero, but my prayer is that it doesn’t reflect guilt and remorse when the revelation of past former sins comes to light. Be a hero in your child’s life today – live what you believe!