One of Refuge Church’s core values is that we know people need Grace & Truth.
Today I’m wondering how we’d apply that to a fallen public figure like Lance Armstrong.
I’ve heard a report that a library in Sydney, Australia, moved all the books by Lance Armstrong into their “Fiction” section.
According to a Jan. 20, 2013, Reuters story, a sign was posted Saturday in Sydney’s Manly Library which says: “All Non-Fiction Lance Armstrong Books, including Lance Armstrong: Images of a Champion, The Lance Armstrong Performance Program and Lance Armstrong: World’s Greatest Champion, will soon be moved to the fiction section.”
The story reports that library officials said the printed notice, which was placed in a plastic stand on a bookshelf in the library, was a prank and that an internal review was underway.
A local pastor with a high profile recently blogged:
Whether or not he walks away from the worst crash of his life, Lance Armstrong will forever stride with a limp. Mr. Livestrong will be Mr. Crashhard. The International Cycling Union stripped Lance Armstrong of all seven of his Tour de France titles back in October. His decorated identity is gone forever. The man formerly associated with perseverance and triumph over adversity will now be known as a cheat, a liar, and a self-absorbed worshiper of the god he sees every morning while brushing his teeth. No matter how many tears he sheds on national television, no matter how much money he pays in lost endorsement deals, and no matter what sanctions or legal punishment he endures, nothing will ever buy back the sterling reputation Lance Armstrong once enjoyed. (emphasis mine)
We can’t reclassify books arbitrarily. There are ISBN’s that set those standards.
We also can’t classify someone’s soul based on a few media appearances. The Creator of the universe sets those standards as well.
I get tempted to judge too. I’m an open-opportunity tyrant. In the just writing the earlier parts of this post, I’ve emotionally judged Lance Armstrong AND the pastor who assumes that Lance only worships himself. Now I’m judging myself for judging them. The death-spiral continues until a tone of grace shatters it all.
What does a fallen figure need after they blow it? They need to know the Truth about who Jesus is and their rebellion against Him. They also need Grace, knowing that Jesus came to save sinners, of whom I’m the worst. (to paraphrase my good friend Paul)
What do public religious figures who get big press from little judgments need? They need to know that Truth isn’t just a set of facts, the Truth is a person who took on flesh and dwelt among us so that we could see His glory. They need to encounter that Person anew and remember that Moses came to bring the Law, Jesus came to bring grace and truth (in that order). (see John 1)
What do I need as I react to Armstrong, Nicki Minaj, my wife, my friends or anyone else? Grace. Truth. Jesus.