Lance Armstrong and the spiral of deceit

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image credit: ESPN

 

Lance Armstrong will announce to the world tonight that he used performance enhancing drugs as part of his run to dominate the cycling world. You may or may not think that cheating at cycling is a big deal. I get it. National exposure for cheating at a niche sport is pretty weird, right? Probably not enough to get national exposure and receive the kind of press that it’s received.Until you consider that Lance is a hero outside of the racing world. See, Lance contracted testicular cancer at age 25. Left untreated, it spread throughout his body, and he had a massive, very public, battle with cancer. Knowing not whether he would live or die, he launched the LiveStrong Foundation, and began advocating and fighting for the life of people stricken with cancer. LiveStrong has done tremendous work in the area of cancer research.

But Lance has learned what many of us have learned. As he covered up his cheating by lying about his steroid use, he had to lie even more. Sin compounded sin compounded sin. The more people he deceived, the more people he had to deceive as he spiraled downward.

Sin loves to hide itself behind layers of more sin.

Lance lied publicly and privately. As people questioned his actions, he went after them, publicly and privately. In the public courts and the courts of public opinion, Lance trampled on people as they called his integrity into question. Threatening phone calls, law suits, and nasty emails were sent to try to “disprove” Lance’s guilt.

The Reaction To Confrontation

Which is no shock to us, right? When you’re called out for something you’ve done, you tend to not react so positively, right?

Sin has a way of masking itself. With masks on top of masks. The deeper you go, the deeper you have to go. The more people you deceive, the more you have to continue to deceive.

In Scripture, King David knew this, too. (see 2 Samuel 11) He saw a beautiful girl, and he wanted her. So he summoned Bathsheba to his quarters, and slept with her. He sent her home, only to soon find out she was pregnant. So to cover up his sin, he decided to pull her husband, Uriah, home from the war. He got Uriah drunk, and urged him to go home and sleep with his wife, hoping to cover up his sin by leading everyone to believe Uriah had gotten Bathsheba pregnant. Sin covering sin.

Uriah didn’t take the bait.

So David had Uriah sent to the front lines of the war so he would be killed. David had Uriah killed to cover his sin.

Adultery, murder, lying and deceit.

You know what broke the cycle? Nathan, the prophet, confronted David on his sin.

David was absolutely broken. He confessed his sin and received forgiveness. He was completely open with God about his rebellion and need for grace. He admitted he’d messed up in a big way. And you know what the crazy thing was? God heard David, answered him, and restored to him joy!

Finding Hope

Maybe you’re on that spiral right now. You’ve messed up, and very few people know. You’ve got your public persona…and your private persona. And you don’t like that. I know you don’t. It’s not making you happy, and you’re scared to death of the consequences that your exposure could bring.

To stop the spiral, you’ve got to take off the mask. Live life freely in transparency, confession, and ample portions of grace. Quit pretending, quit hiding, and quit living life in fear. Quit acting like everything’s ok, because it’s not. God longs to restore joy to you, and free you from the chains that you’ve shackled yourself with.

Sin loves to hide itself behind layers of more sin. And that cycle won’t stop by itself. In fact, If you want to break that cycle, take a cue from David. Then bask in grace, and be quick to give it away.

If you want to have true joy and true freedom, it’s time to be honest.

Was David’s life easier once he confessed? Nope. In fact, he still had a long, hard road ahead. But it was a brighter, more hopful, more full road than the dark path he was sprinting down.

The road to healing isn’t easy. But your moment of exposure and fleeting shame will lead to a lifetime of restoration and love from our Savior.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.

Then I will teach your ways to rebels,

and they will return to you.

Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;

then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.

Unseal my lips, O Lord,

that my mouth may praise you. – Psalm 51:12-15

 

 

 

The 3 Failures of How we see Sin

This is a guest post from Tyler Braun (Twitter, Facebook, Blog). He’s a 27 year-old writer, worship leader, and pastor from Portland, Oregon where he lives with his wife Rose. If you don’t know Tyler, you should get to know him. He speaks winsomely and with great conviction for my generation. His blog (and his book) are worth the read for sure.

Tyler’s first book has just released, through Moody Publishers. If you buy a copy before August 10, he’ll throw in all kinds of goodies. Click HERE for details, and to pick your copy up.

AND…I’m giving a copy away here on my blog. Just leave a comment below with your mailing address, RT this post, share it on Facebook (being sure to tag me), and I’ll pick one winner.

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image credit: CreationSwap user uncredited

Sin is a subtle and deceiving creature. Often masked in my life as a new adventure, new opportunity, or new discovery about myself, sin pulls me away from the purposes of God into a world where I become the main character, rather than being a part of the subplot.

I often see sin being reduced to only the biggest of mistakes I’ve made in my life. Is that the totality of sin?

Sin is lying to our parents or children. Sin is committing adultery. Sin is breaking the law. Sin is slandering others.

Sin is all those things, but when we reduce sin to only the worst mistakes of our lives we’re slowly allowing sin to become a bigger part of our lives without ever noticing it. Remember, sin is a subtle and deceiving creature, and it goes far beyond the worst mistakes we’ve made in life.

I saw this happen quickly in my life while watching a few seasons of a television series. What pulled me in was the riveting storyline, but soon enough it was effecting my thoughts and how I lived my life. I noticed lust entering into my mind. I began to have more violent thoughts, and before long it was apparent all of my thoughts revolved around me. All this from just watching a television show.

In making sin out to be merely the worst offenses of our lives we commit 3 grievous failures.

Failure to See the Subtle Sin

Sins such as pride, a calloused heart, and lust can run so far underneath the surface of our lives that we never recognize how powerful they are until it’s too late.

Often we view living the Christian life as more of a sin management strategy than a pursuit of a deep relationship with the Creator. When we do this we become good at making sure we stay away from the “big” sins but often fail at evaluating how our hearts are wandering.

We’re all prone to wander. Failing to see the subtle sin can make the wandering devastating.

Failure to Recognize Sin’s Communal Repercussions

The ministries of many of the minor prophets in the Old Testament were often more focused on how our relationship with God flows naturally in how we relate with those around us. God used the prophetic ministry of Amos to the nation of Israel to explain His coming wrath against them, not for the sins of individuals, but the sins of the whole nation.

The prophets understood the reality of corporate and social sin.We look at sin as an individual, personal issue, often overlooking the overwhelmingly strong, yet difficult to see, connection between humans.

The sins impeding our lives affect more than just the person committing the sin.

All sin affects the whole body of Christ.

Failure to Understand the Sin of Not Doing What We Ought

We spend the large majority of our time focused on the sins of commission (the sins we commit) while failing to understand the sins of omission (not doing what we should).

The sins of omission are powerful because they take time to evaluate.

I try spend time every night evaluating the entire day in order to see where I missed opportunities.

It’s easy to overlook or brush aside not doing something we should. Be careful though, inaction is often the worst sin, because we slowly slide into a comfortable life where we fail to grow into who God desires us to become.

What failures do you see in how we view sin?

What other ways have you seen sin deceive you, or others?