The Rio Olympics have officially come to a close. This year’s games included many inspiring storylines. Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles and Usain Bolt all cemented their places among the greatest Olympians of all time. New heroes emerged and heartwarming stories of courage and perseverance were shared.
Sadly, however, the story which has dominated the headlines is that of Ryan Lochte. Ryan Lochte is one of the most decorated Olympian swimmers of all time. He won another gold medal this year, bringing his medal total to twelve, second all-time behind Michael Phelps.
After the swimming events were over, however, Lochte and three other American swimmers went out for a night on the town to celebrate. They got drunk and ended up busting down a bathroom door at a convenience store. When confronted, they paid the manager of the store so he would not report it.
The next day, however, Lochte tried to cover up their bad behavior by telling his mother they had been brutally mugged at gunpoint. Lochte’s mom told reporters. Suddenly Lochte and his cohorts found themselves repeating their lie not only on TV, but also to the police.
Though reports soon surfaced claiming the robbery had been made up, Lochte and the other swimmers initially stuck by their story. The truth has now come out, though. Video evidence and eye witness accounts have forced the swimmers to admit their lie.
The incident has probably cost Ryan Lochte millions of dollars in endorsements. He may also now have to face legal problems in Brazil as well as discipline from Olympic organizers. No matter what, his legacy has forever been tarnished.
The sad story of Ryan Lochte is just another example of how each of us is just two or three bad choices away from losing everything. Usually you can recover from one bad mistake if you admit it and face the consequences of your actions.
Sin, however, is a slippery slope. When we make mistakes, the initial reaction of our sinful nature is to cover it up, to lie, to hide what we have done. We compound our bad choice by making more bad choices.
That’s what King David did. One night, he saw a beautiful woman bathing. Though he knew she was married one of his army commanders, he invited her to his palace to have sex with her. She got pregnant. David panicked. He brought her husband back from the war to sleep with her so nobody would find out, but that didn’t work. So he sent the husband back to the war and gave orders to have him killed.
Sin is a slippery slope. We panic. We try to find the easy way out. We don’t want people to know what we’ve done, so we lie. We cover it up. We make everything worse.
Thankfully, Jesus died not only for our initial sins, but also all the stupid sins which follow. God forgave King David his lust, adultery and murder. Jesus died for Ryan Lochte’s foolish mistakes and he has died for yours as well. You cannot commit a sin which God will not forgive.
But seeing God’s phenomenal forgiving love and understanding the slippery slope of sin, learn from Ryan Lochte’s mistake. When you mess up – and you are going to mess up – don’t make it worse by lying or covering it up. I know it’s painful, but admit what you’ve done. Ask God for forgiveness. Ask those you have wronged to forgive you.
Admit your mistakes right away and you will save yourself a lot of hurt and heartache.