I want to write one more blog regarding Lance Armstrong. I am tempted to do more. In this blog I would like to focus on Armstrong’s remarks regarding his oldest son, Luke, who is 13 years old. I watched the interview. This is the way that AP described the exchange regarding his son. “Armstrong didn’t break over the $75 million in lost sponsorship deals, or after being forced to walk away from the Livestrong cancer charity he founded and called his ‘sixth child.” He didn’t crack after his lifetime ban from competition. It was another bit of collateral damage that Armstrong said he wasn’t prepared to deal with.” He cracked when talked about having to tell his son. Armstrong recalled, “I saw my son defending me and saying, ‘That’s not true. What you’re saying about my dad is not true.” “That’s when I knew I had to tell him,” Armstrong recalled. He had to say to Luke, “Don’t defend me anymore. Don’t”
Back in 1996 as Armstrong faced his cancer surgery he shared these thoughts about his religious views. “Quite simply, I believed I had a responsibility to be a good person, and that meant fair, honest, hardworking, and honorable. If I did that, if I was good to my family, true to my friends, if I gave back to my community or to some cause, if I wasn’t a liar, a cheat, or a thief, then I believed that should be enough.” In light of those comments, telling his son not to “defend me anymore” must have been very difficult. I submit to you men, that Lance Armstrong’s lifestyle and the collateral damage caused by broken relationships is a clear warning for each of us. Not only did Armstrong have to face failure in family relationships, but also all those people who he deceived. Was it worth “the ride?”
A huge take away for me from Lance Armstrong’s life is the need to be vigilant in all my relationships so that there is no “collateral damage.” The most important mark in the life of a man is not what he accomplishes nor how much he possesses. Rather it is how he relates to those who are in the sphere of his influence. That, of course, begins with his family. I know my life will be measured as to how well I have related to my wife, children and now my extended family. Jesus makes that very clear in his new command to us. “Let me give you a new commandment: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other” (John 13:34-35 The Message).
Men, your relationships will keep you humble. There is no way that you will be able to love the way Jesus has asked you to love. I have always maintained the posture of being incapable of relating well to those whom I love. It is in my incapacity that I find the capacity in God to love. How? By humbly acknowledging my great need, while crying out for God to be merciful to me. Here is how I have been helped in my incapacity. First I open my heart to receive the love of God. Then I humbly as God to give me a servant’s heart for those with whom I relate. I take the initiative to reach out, even when the relationship is strained. Finally, I try to get into the other person’s shoes. That is, I do all I can to enter into their story. Most of all, I can not stress enough the vital practice of living a life of forgiveness. Forgiveness frees us to live with an open heart and spirit. You cannot relate well, when your spirit is closed.