Lance Armstrong and the power of forgiveness

When it became apparent Tiger Woods cheated on his wife, Fox News commentator Brit Hume suggested he seek forgiveness from Jesus Christ.

Woods, a Buddhist, opted for forgiveness from the public.

He held an overly-prepared press conference that made his contriteness seem less than authentic.

“I am deeply sorry,” the king of golf repeatedly said as he stared into the lens of a television camera.

For his advice, Hume received hoards of criticism, primarily from far left activists.

But Hume was right. Asking for forgiveness from the public – as necessary as it may be in this day and age – does not absolve us from our sins. Only Jesus Christ can do that.

People used to acknowledge the importance of going to confession and asking for forgiveness from God directly. But now, we simply seek forgiveness from man, a creature scarred by original sin.

Enter Lance Armstrong.

His confession to Oprah Winfrey is emblematic of this strange new reality.

Armstrong, who in the past has expressed doubts about the existence of God, told Winfrey that he used performance enhancing drugs to help his career.

I’ll let you be the judge of Armstrong’s sincerity, but what he needs to realize is that coming clean to the public does not exonerate him from his past, spiritually speaking.

His actions destroyed people’s lives, reputations and their dignity. And for what? Money and a fleeting sense of happiness. Two things that in the long run don’t amount to anything.

No matter how many mountains we climb, trophies we win or championships we claim, all of that pales in comparison to what Christ did for us.

That’s not to suggest those things are unimportant, but so long as we pursue earthly desires by any means necessary, we will always come up short. For it is God’s will that must be done. Not ours.

It is my hope that Lance, like all of us, recognize this and that he turns to Jesus Christ during this trying time in his life.



  • Paulspr

    Atheists are perfectly capable of making the right decisions. One doesn’t need to disrespectfully pray for everyone’s conversion to Christianity. There are plenty of “Christians” that have made far worse decisions than Mr. Armstrong. I’ve never seen the atheist calling for those Christians to repent and accept atheism as the only salivation.

    Honestly, do you not see the damage that these kind or statements create?

    • Marvin Derks

      I couldn’t agree more. To judge someone based on a religious belief that a particular person has chosen to follow, in this case, Stephen, is myopic at best. Tiger and Lance have asked for forgiveness. I respect that.

      • Joe M

        The criticism is not that they chose to follow a different religion. It’s that they chose to apologize to the public.

        Tiger didn’t cheat on you. So, why do you respect that he asked you to forgive him?

        I think that Stephen is right. The obvious motive for Tiger to ask you to forgive him is PR and money. This renders the apology self-serving rather than moral.

        • Marvin Derks

          Tiger and Lance were looked up to by many Americans and others around the world. Them asking us to forgive them makes all the sense in the world. Additionally, both Lance and Tiger may have also asked God to forgive them and done so in private. Why would Stephen assume this didn’t happen?

          • Stephen Kokx

            Hi Marvin,

            You are right! I do not know if Mr Armstrong or Mr Woods asked for forgiveness from God. But based on their religious beliefs I have no reason to think they would.

            As for me personally, I think they would benefit tremendously from doing so. That is why I wrote the article.

            Too often we only seek forgiveness from other people for our actions. I recognize that Woods and Armstrong are public figures and that if they truly feel sorry for what they did then they would likely apologize in the way that they did. But I do think that seeking forgiveness from others only goes so far and that doing so on its own won’t get us into heaven. We have to ask God for forgiveness of our sins.

            However, I think Joe M is on to something. It is often the case people in the public eye do these things without any remorse whatsoever.

          • Marvin Derks

            You’ve made a lot of assumptions about these two athletes that can’t be proven. You could simply have said that you hope these two individuals asked for forgiveness from God and be done with it.

          • Joe M

            Haven’t you also made the assumption that their motivation was concern for the people who look up to them?

          • Marvin Derks


          • Joe M

            Fair enough. I guess I never looked up to celebrities in that way. So, didn’t think of that aspect.

            Still, I’m skeptical that either of those guys really “did it for the fans” rather than their careers. You don’t think that their agents had anything to do with it? Lance didn’t really apologize. He argues that what he did wasn’t cheating. That sounds like self-serving defense rather than concern for what fans look up to.

    • Joe M


      Catholics believe that not believing in God risks eternal damnation. Why wouldn’t people pray for others to avoid that?



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