The Word on the Week

Lance Armstrong’s Nemesis

The truth will out! After successfully concealing the use of performance enhancing drugs for many years the US Anti Doping Agency produced their verdict this week.

The 1,000 page report described Armstrong’s squad as running ‘the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that the sport of cycling has ever seen’. Armstrong is depicted as a bully who coerced his team-mates into using drugs.

The height of Armstrong’s fame came when he monopolised the famous three week road race – the Tour De France – winning it on 7 successive occasions from 1999 to 2005. At that time the suspicion of drug taking was strong and in jest it was suggested that the emblem for the Tour be a badge of a chemical factory!

In 2006 he was struck down with cancer but after treatment made a dramatic recovery the following year. He went on to encourage other cancer patients. Armstrong’s work in this field made Cancer Awareness a part of our everyday vocabulary and consciousness.

Since that time his racing exploits have been marred in relationship disputes with team members and have not reached their former heights.

A total of 11 riders gave evidence against him, many of whom he introduces to the drug regime. Their catchphrase during those years was “train and load”. The “load” referred to the blood transfusion and drugs administered by the team medical staff that accompanied the training.

There was even a paraphrase of Jimi Hendrix’s song “Purple Haze” coined by the riders.

“EPO all in my veins; Lately things just don’t seem the same; Actin’ funny, but I don’t know why; ’Scuse me while I pass this guy.”

Is there any redemption in the Bible for such?

The Bible speaks of sins being exposed, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account”( Hebrews Chapter 4 verse 13).

Armstrong has had the doubtful privilege of a 1,000 page dossier presented to him in the here and now to reveal his sins and shame him into repentance.

When King David was brought face to face with his adultery by Nathan the Prophet his reflex action was to confess –“I have sinned against the Lord” (2Samuel Chapter 12 verse 13) and the prophet was able to announce the Lord’s forgiveness.

Not all of us get such public reminders of our sins as Armstrong and King David but the Gospel is still the good news for repentant sinners. St John wrote, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin” (1John Chapter 1 verse 7) and is efficacious to this day.

One repented and was forgiven, for the other, the jury is still out. Which category do you fall into? Look to Jesus and believe.