Lance Armstrong, confession, and repentance
WHENEVER the topic of our common life turns to confession, we find ourselves up against what Lord Peter Wimsey might have called “rank defensiveness.” Celebrate on Sunday mornings? Yes! Wave the jubilation streamers about to prove it? Yes. But confess that we might have erred and strayed from the right path? No, but we’re very happy to point you to the people who have done, in our opinion, thank you very much.
It is a peculiarly stubborn form of human pride* that, on any given Sunday, we believe ourselves to be above confession, above repentance, and above apology to God.
Yet we know that when we apologize and make amends to a parent, or a sibling, or a lover, or a friend, we are restored to intimacy with that person, and what relief washes over us, now that the temporary estrangement — brought about by our own boorishness — is past. So how much greater still is our relief from the spiritual chains that bind us when we come clean to God?
BY WAY of the utterly secular topics of professional cycling and its greatest champion and greatest disgrace — Lance Armstrong — Frederick Schmidt has tackled the topic of repentance with characteristic incisiveness and poise, telling us what repentance is, and what it isn’t.
*A.K.A. sin. Duh.