“The real test character is not whether or not you make mistakes, it’s what you do after you blow it.” –Brad Bright
Lance Armstrong had it all. Tomorrow he will admit to the world what most of us knew but hoped would not be true: he cheated and then boldly lied about it for years. Why is it so disappointing? Why is it so surprising? Could it be that although good character is endangered in our species, we still treasure the idea of it and long for those who embody such an outdated ideal?
Don’t we all want our children to grow up to be men and women of character? I doubt that when Lance Armstrong was a young boy his mom asked herself, “How do I parent Lance so he will grow up and decide doping is the best way to become a world class athlete?” or “How do I teach him to lie so convincingly that he will fool the world?”
No, I suspect Mrs. Armstrong taught her son that it’s wrong to lie and cheat. But like so many who have grown up in a culture that has ripped away the foundation for character and replaced it with a narcissistic view of the world, honesty and integrity hold up only as long as it is perceived to be beneficial to the individual. When Lance perceived that he couldn’t win without cheating, cheating became acceptable. Character that’s built on a self-serving foundation will inevitably cave.
Atheists and secularists try to convince us that mankind will pursue moral character because it’s in our best interest to do so—. Really? Talk about sticking your head in the sand! As my husband says, “If the God of the Bible doesn’t exist then morality is a fairy tale just like Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny.” There is nothing that obligates us to pursue a moral character apart from the existence and character of God and the reality that we are created in His image. It is His image, woven into the fabric of our souls that causes us to long for men and women of outstanding character.
Apart from God, morality is an illusion conjured up out of thin air by each individual and must be imposed on those who disagree. In other words, those with “the biggest sticks” force their idea of moral behavior on the rest. Recent events have brought this reality front and center in America. David Greene, President and CEO of Hobby Lobby, will pay hundreds of millions of dollars more than Lance Armstrong ever will as punishment for daring to refuse to participate in a government mandate he finds morally reprehensible: killing a baby in the womb.
Our culture’s narcissist moral foundation (that’s been under construction since Lance Armstrong was a baby) is void of God and wields a costly stick. If you want your children to make good choices and pursue Godly moral behavior, you will have to be intentional about building their character on the unshakable foundation of God and His character. The pressure to conform to the counterfeit character of our culture is too great apart from His help and power. Apart from Him, we set them up for failure.
It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound…while our idea of God is erroneous and inadequate. —A.W. Tozer
P.S. The Attribute of God we’re focusing on this month at dg4kids.com is Creator and King (Sovereign). Check out the weekly Table Talk Questions and Activities on the e-Calendar. The family devotions in the Adventures with God section are a great help as well!!!