Lance Armstrong seems to relish the role of the comeback kid. The cycling champion won his battle with cancer and returned to the top of his sport. Now, after being taken down by his own web of lies, Oprah Winfrey will air his confession that he used performance enhancing drugs. Reports indicate that he desires to compete again. Years of lying and covering up lies might make it hard to believe that Lance is genuine in his repentance and not just attempting another celebrity comeback. I pray that he will find true forgiveness in Christ. I pray that his life will be changed, and that he will have a heart like that of Zacchaeus, ready to repay fourfold anyone whom he has defrauded.
Doping is forbidden for many good reasons, and the news of this abuse is quite sad. Sadder still is mountain of lies that he has built over the years. Life will be very complicated for a long time for many who were caught in this web of deceit. Lies destroy lives. They have destroyed Lance Armstrong’s life and those of many others connected to his. Other young people inside the world of sports have believed Armstrong’s lies that doping is profitable. They are even now destroying their bodies and their lives with performance-enhancing drugs for the sake of athletic advantage, celebrity status, and financial gain.
By contrast, my sons have an example of one who humbly loves truth. Bill Bock helps to coach their basketball team at practices. He exemplifies sportsmanship and care for people worth emulating – even if Lance would shake his head watching Bill’s suicide sprints with the boys. Though you wouldn’t know from talking to him, he was the lead attorney for the United States Anti-Doping Agency in the Armstrong case. His Christian character stands out in two accounts written in October. The first, in the New York Times, is a longer story that details how Armstrong’s wall fell. Bock’s significant role is highlighted briefly near the end of the article. The second, a shorter article, testifies to Bock’s character in the case – including his personal care for Lance Armstrong. Young people have lost an inspiring role model with the fall of Lance Armstrong, but through this sad story, the Lord has raised up a positive role model in Bill Bock.
Lance Armstrong also needs people to emulate at this difficult stage in his life. Oprah might provide a platform for a public confession of his doping and deceit, but he needs teachers that will point him to the truth with a capital “T,” Jesus Christ. Where will he find that kind of help? Armstrong could knock on the door of a loving man who has already carefully revealed the truth about his life. He has run from Bill Bock for a long time. If Lance Armstrong is truly sorry and wants to know real freedom in the truth, his best move might be to run back to Bock. It would require great humility to repent and ask to be discipled by him in Jesus Christ. But, I’m sure Bill Bock would be more than willing. If Lance Armstrong humbles himself that way, his greatest comeback is yet to come.