The Connection Between Lance Armstrong and Manti Teʻo

lance armstrongManti Teʻo

What do Lance Armstrong and Manti Teʻo have in common?

They are just like you. And me.

The only difference is that you aren’t dealing with Lance’s specific issue or Manti’s specific issue.

What do the four of us have in common? Our desire for status can often trump all else and cause us to lose focus. Am I appalled by some of the things that Lance has said and done? Absolutely. But I’m also appalled by many of the thoughts in my head and the things that I do or say. Am I baffled by Manti’s explanation of what happened? Absolutely. But I’m also baffled by some of the things I justify to myself.

Our sermon team was preparing this week for an upcoming message in our Luke series at Central and one of the verses stood out in particular.

Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.” Luke 11:46

Here Jesus confronted both the Pharisees and the experts in the law of the Old Testament. His accusation is twofold: 1) they put spiritual weight on the shoulders of others, and 2) they don’t do anything to help them with it. It’s easy to point the finger at these long-dead guys and move on. But the tougher question is why were they doing it?

Remember, these were religious people. These were the people that appeared to know God the best. These were the people that appeared to have it all together. I don’t think they had evil hearts or a desire to see others suffer needlessly. They were simply wrapped up in protecting their status.

You see for these religious leaders their status was in the distance between their spirituality and the spirituality of everyone else. By definition, if they helped others on their own spiritual journey toward maturity then they themselves would cease to be on such a higher moral ground (at least by appearances). As a result, these God followers found themselves weighing people down and ultimately enjoying the fact that there was nothing the people could do to rise above it.

Their desire for status caused them to work toward the opposite of what they represented.

Now back to our two famous liars in the spotlight right now. It’s easy to point the finger at these exposed guys and move on. But the tougher question is why did they do it?

Like our religious leaders in Luke chapter eleven, they are wrapped up in protecting their status. As a result, they ended up working toward the opposite of what they represented. Lance tarnishes the sport that he built into what it is today. Manti tarnishes the values that he stood for (including being a vocal Mormon) and the leadership he appeared to display. Here’s a line from Lance in his interview with Oprah:

“This story was so perfect for so long. It’s this myth, this perfect story, and it wasn’t true.”

The lesson for each of us, if we would stop to consider it, is that the same desire for status that wrecked the religious leaders, Lance Armstrong, and Manti Teʻo, lives inside of each one of us. The specifics are different (and debatable), but the motivation is the same. Whenever we display a version of ourselves which we know to be inaccurate or misleading (check your past Facebook statuses for a gut-check on this one) we fall into the same error. Whenever we work to maintain our status at all costs. Whenever we allow our pride to convince us of a disproportionate view on ourselves.

People all throughout history have been connected by the need to protect and maintain status with the people around them. It is a strong drive that can derail the very core of what we are attempting to represent. While the limelight is currently on Lance Armstrong and Manti Teʻo, it will not be long until another person has joined the club for the exact same reasons. For those interested in submitting to the values of the Kingdom of God—it shouldn’t be us.

Sign up with your email and get a free copy of my book!



Jeremy Jernigan

This is the personal blog of Jeremy Jernigan husband, father, executive pastor, and student of truth

4 Comments

Ray Flores

about 2 years ago

It's all perspective, in my opinion, either you are looking at the worldly view, or the looking through the eyes of the Good Book. Worldly stories vary, but the only stories that have proven truth are that of the Bible... those are the stories, myself and others need... not the story of "this is perfection" as seen by the world, but the stories of Jesus.

Reply

Jeremy Jernigan

about 2 years ago

Totally agree Ray. The problem is that we have a hard time letting go of the perception of perfection... Thanks for leaving a comment ;)

Reply

Joanne Butler

about 2 years ago

As usual, you amaze me with your insight, and you are absolutely right that we all have the tendency to sit back and point fingers, when we do the same thing on a daily basis, we just are not famous and rich and in the media's limelight. We all have these flaws, and the news these days gets progressively more nauseating. Joanne Butler

Reply

Jeremy Jernigan

about 2 years ago

Thanks Joanne!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Please be polite. We appreciate that.
Your email address will not be published and required fields are marked


Want your picture next to your comment? Click here!

Have you Subscribed via RSS yet? Don't miss a post!

More in Bible
The Lookout Bible Reading Plan
Bible reading plan for 2013

Like I did last year and the year before, I want to start out 2013 by letting you know what...

Close