Lance Armstrong and Grace
Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,
They gathered together, as much as that’s possible, in our modern age of social media. Virtual torches and pitchforks lifted. Snarled expressions. A thirst for blood.
When there’s blood, and so long as there is a computer to hide behind, our dark side comes out. The mob gathers. Revenge on their mind. In the name of justice. Justice!
I wonder what causes us to want to see someone destroyed? What inside of us gets caught up in the frenzy and forgets that we’re dealing with a human being?
Tonight Lance’s interview with Oprah will run on TV across the globe.
If Lance confesses to everything I think he should be punished however the law deems appropriate.
But the man is no monster. Even if he cheated, stole, bullied, or lied. I haven’t heard Lance say it yet, so I’m still saying “if”.
He’s no more a monster than you or me.
Maybe your monster is the one whose heart pounds faster as his impending fall approaches. What great excitement it will be! The angry mob pushing to get a look at the beast as he’s tied to the stake and destroyed. Seems sinister to me.
As a believer in Jesus Christ I believe in Grace. Yes, I just went there. My friend Jon Acuff calls it the “Jesus Juke”.
Lance Armstrong is no murderer of millions. He is not an abuser of children.
Quite the contrary, he’s a just a man who made mistakes, but has also done good in the world.
Put yourself in his shoes. After the punishment is leveled. Living in a world without without grace and second chances.
He’s a father and still a young man.
I think back to when my mom was receiving chemo therapy treatments at Vanderbilt Hospital. Outside of her treatment room there was a poster of Lance on his time trial bike – winning, victorious, a champion. More importantly, to my mom, he was a symbol of hope and 2nd chances. She was excited to show me the poster on her first day. She wore her pink Livestrong tshirt to Yoga class while she tried to keep her strength. Lance Armstrong meant strength to her. Her Faith was strengthened, I believe.
I had a conversation with a guy at my office today whose young daughter is battling cancer and going through treatment now. I asked how she’s doing. She’s doing better. As I walked away he caught me:
“Hey man,” he said “The doctor told us she has the same variety of cancer that Lance had. Really aggressive. Lance’s was much worse. And he made it.”
“That’s right. He made it. Your daughter will too.”
So doctors are selling the man as a symbol of hope. And for one young family dealing with cancer, he’s Hope beyond our comprehension.
There’s immense value in that. Yes, even if Livestrong only raises “awareness”.
There is good in the man that doesn’t deserve a public persecution.
Let the laws of our country judge Lance Armstrong. Meanwhile, we should put away our torches and pitchforks and show Grace.
He’s just a man. A flawed man. We’re called to extend God’s Grace and forgiveness.
I love you,