The weather's been good for the Olympics in Beijing. Except for those dark clouds. World-class athletes, disqualified on the brink of their moment of glory. Because of what they call doping. You want to win so badly that you pump illegal substances into your body to give you the edge. Instead, you go over the edge.
It's not just an Olympic thing. Just look at the scandals of Major League Baseball, involving some of the best in the game. Or are they?
You want it so bad. You end up paying a price for it that costs you bigger and bigger pieces of yourself. Your integrity. Your self-respect. Your reputation. And even the goal you compromised for.
But before we put on our black robe and decide to judge doping athletes, maybe we should look at some of the things we've done to "win&" something we really wanted. Lying to get ahead or get out of a jam. Doing things you said you'd never do because you wanted somebody's approval. Giving up your virginity in hopes of trading it for love. Manipulating and using people to get to your goal. Neglecting your wife or kids to win at work. Like credit card debt, the bill won’t come immediately, but it will come. With interest.
I’ve found an anchor for so many life-choices in just seven simple words in God’s Book of Proverbs. "The integrity of the upright guides them" (Proverbs 11:3). Just as a missile’s internal guidance system decides where it goes, so integrity always sets the course of the man or woman of God. When you decide you’ll always take the high road, no matter what, it pre-makes a thousand life decisions. And it means that when you cross your finish line, you’ll be able to say those two winning words - "No regrets."
When you win at the cost of your integrity or your purity, you lose. Or, in the sobering words of Jesus: "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36).