I read that, after years of denying use of any performance-enhancing steroids, Olympic sprinter Marion Jones has admitted to using steroids prior to the 2000 Olympics. I remember watching Jones at the Olympics in Sydney, in which she came away with five medals, three of them gold. A few years ago, when allegations of steroid use emerged, Jones vehemetly denied using them. I have to admit that, having heard similar denials from other runners, baseball players and other athletes, I was skeptical of her proclaimed innocence. Now Jones is coming clean, and faces jail time, not to mention being stripped of her medals.
It’s a little ironic to me that this story is breaking in the same week that the chapter in the Seeking Him study is about honesty. It’s easy for me to shake my head in disbelief when athletes deny using steroids to enhance their performance. But don’t we all, in one way or another, have something that we try to hide? Don’t we all want to project a positive image of ourselves, to protect our reputation, even if that means keeping something hidden?
We are in good company. Even King David–a man after God’s own heart–kept his affair with Bathsheba and subsequent murder of her husband covered up for a year. When Nathan the prophet confronted David about it, he finally confessed and repented of it. But in that year of silence, he suffered greatly. In Psalm 32, David wrote:
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Selah
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD “—
and you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:3-5)
Although Marion Jones no doubt has a long road to face–possible imprisonment, tarnished reputation, loss of trust–perhaps in admitting her guilt, she can begin the journey to redemption. When we admit our guilt and stop covering up our sins, stop being so concerned about what others think of us, then we are able to be cleansed by God and truly live the life we were meant to live.