Little now surprises me about disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. Finally owning up to the use of performance enhancing drugs which he had denied for years, Armstrong was subsequently stripped of all his seven Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life.
In the wake of the scandal, the United States Anti-Doping Agency plans to conduct a wide ranging inquiry into the issue of doping in the sport. According to a recent Guardian article, Armstrong will co-operate with the investigation, ‘because of legal proceedings in the US’.
Travis Tygart, head of the anti-doping agency told Reuters, "He is going for a deposition in the United States in November where he is going to go under oath in a lawsuit and have to answer questions and I think that he is now being forced essentially through that process [to come clean] and that he is trying to gain an advantage.............. It's a little late but we are still hopeful he will come and answer everything we have to ask him under oath but until he decides to do that, it is entirely premature to determine or speculate on any sort of reduction of his life ban."
This week, Armstrong told the BBC that he would: “testify with 100% transparency and honesty" if invited to the inquiry.
Most commentators and cycling aficionados, while keen to know the truth, will have one question: Can anything that Lance Armstrong, a proven liar says, ever be believed?
Sadly for people who are serious serial liars, the truth nearly always comes to the fore. Where the individuals involved have celebrity status, the consequences career wise and personally are almost always devastating.
Lying is however part of the human condition. There is a continuum of lying which ranges from the mild but untrue statement, to downright untruthfulness. Human beings lie to others, and according to psychologists, even lie to themselves!
Why do people tell lies?
Some individuals lie for the purpose of maintaining social contacts to hide their true feelings from others in order to avoid insults or discord. Thus some commonplace phrases can have a double meaning such as: ‘I value your opinion’....... ‘I forgot’..... ‘My phone was off’.... ‘Your kids are sooo cute’... ‘I love your hair’.... ‘That was the best meal I ever ate’..... ‘You look like you've lost weight’.
Writing on the website www.blifaloo.com, psychologist Robert Feldman says: "We find that as soon as people feel that their self-esteem is threatened, they immediately begin to lie at higher levels."
These ‘higher levels of lying’ include: lying to save face; lying to shift blame and lying for personal gain.
Robert Feldman says that, ‘lying is a complex phenomenon’. I disagree.
The Bible is clear about lying...it is sin. The Ninth of the Ten Commandments is clear: "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour."
While the original Hebrew of the commandment reflects a legal context, it also suggests a broader application to lying in general. Lying is something all people should not do, particularly those who claim to be Christians.
Sadly we all sin, and deserve punishment by Almighty God who is holy and without sin. However, the Lord is a God of justice, who is merciful and loving, providing a way of escape for all from the consequences of their sin.
The Apostle John explained this great truth in his Gospel:
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
These truths are just some of the good news of the Gospel.