I just recently watched the very embarrassing and very public confession of a well known American athlete who finally admitted to doping after years of allegation and investigation. While riding in the car with my mom this morning, we talked a little about this former athlete and I immediately began drawing the lesson from his mistakes to my own life.
You see, we live in a society that seems to think that doing the right thing should be easy. If doing the right thing was easy, more people would do it. If honesty and integrity were maintained without effort, more would display it. But the truth is, sometimes doing the right thing comes at a heavy price.
Sometimes it puts you on a lonely road while everyone else gets to travel in groups, with style and comfort. And more often still, righteousness sometimes looks like one missed opportunity after another.
There was an athlete (and I’m sure many more) who competed during the same time as this disgraced athlete did. I’m sure the days he trained for hours, gave up his favorite foods and spent time away from family and friends were painful. I’m sure there was a pain in his heart as this now disgraced athlete mounted the winner’s podium, waving his trophy in the air- the reward for his cheating, lies and dishonesty seemingly heaped with double honor. Somewhere, a man of integrity came in last place or maybe didn’t even place at all. Somewhere he went home to family and friends who encouraged him, telling him, “Better luck next year sweetheart! You trained hard. You did the work. One day, it’ll pay off”. I’m sure he wanted to believe them but while watching his opponent (who eventually was found to be a cheater) accept endorsement deal after endorsement deal while he struggled to pay his bills was a bit more than he could take.
Again I say…
Doing right is not always easy.
Stop expecting it to be and for GOODNESS SAKE stop raising your children to look for the easy way out.
How are we raising them to take the easy way out, you ask?
We raise them by example. How are YOU constantly faltering when the going gets tough?
How often do you murmur and complain when challenges come knocking at your door?
How often does the prosperity of the wicked make you despise your own labor, wrought in the furnaces of hard work and integrity?
Way more often than any of us care to admit.
But admit, we must.
We must all confess, just like this athlete, and tell the truth.
We must confess that yes, it is easy to do the wrong thing. The right thing is unappealing. The road looks rugged. The land looks sparse. The grass is greener on the easy side.
Here’s one thing we who believe in the Lord must reconcile today.
You’ll always find God on the “right” side of things. I don’t care how difficult your circumstances may appear, particularly after you take a stand to do things in a godly and righteous way. God is with you.
Did you hear what I just said?
GOD is with you.
As the world looks upon the shame of this athlete who spent decades beating the “system” only to be taken down by the system he so arrogantly defied, we can’t help but wonder, is it really worth it?
Is it worth it to build a house for decades out of cards?
You see, building on unrighteous deeds and wickedness makes just about as much sense as building an entire house out of cards. No matter how much time you put into building it, at the end of the day, it’s still cards.
And no matter how much time you invest in lies, unrighteousness and wickedness, it’s still wickedness.
In a day and age filled with compromise and darkness, not enough is said about righteousness and integrity.
The scriptures declare, “ He who covers his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes his sins will obtain mercy”. We should seek to live by this scripture found in Proverbs. There’s only so long you can cover up sin and wickedness. There’s only so long you can “get by”. But if you live righteously, honestly, and integrally, you will obtain mercy.
And not only that, you will have built a legacy that cannot be shaken and stripped from you.