Schwazer suggested he actually wanted to get caught because the guilt was psychologically devastating.
The defending champion in the Olympic 50km race walk never made it to London. He was caught doping in July, and banned. In a tearful press conference, he said he was relieved to be caught.
There was no accident about Alex Schwazer’s actions. Tempted by the pressures of his life, he cheated. He knew he was breaking the rules — it was blatant rebellion. He hid it from everyone, apparently, but it caught up with him. Some reports said it was the pressure of trying to double in both the 20km and 50km events, but it doesn’t matter what the temptation was — he cheated, and the rules are clear.
No gold medal for Alex Schwazer. No medal at all, but instead disgrace, humiliation, broken trust, disappointment from family and friends — and further consequences for his job and the rest of his life may follow. Everyone now doubts whether his first medal from 2008 was legitimate. His actions have cast a pall over any real accomplishments he had, shrouded those real accomplishments in doubt. It’s an absolute disaster.
The Sin which Easily Besets
1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
I’ve said it before, sin makes us stupid. We see the negative consequences of sin over and over again, yet we go ahead and do it. Alex Schwazer was experiencing many of those consequences, the guilt, the fear of getting caught, the turmoil that even caused him to want to get caught, and yet he kept on. He could have stopped, and if he had, what he was doing only shows up in the drug tests for a very brief time. But he kept on.
When we set out to intentionally do wrong, it gains a hold on us, and it spins us deeper and deeper into its trap. Alex Schwazer’s cheating led to lies to others and lies to himself. He was lying to himself by refusing to listen to his conscience, by continuing on as if he needed to do what he was doing, as if it was worth it, when he knew it wasn’t worth it.
You’ll never be a true champion in the Christian race if you don’t lay aside the sin. An athlete may be able to fool the drug testers, may manage to deceive athletics officials, but he’ll always know within himself that he cheated. He’ll look at that medal and say to himself, “But I didn’t really earn it.” Or maybe it will be the saddest case of all — he’ll convince himself that he really did deserve it. There’s always a lie you can believe if you want to.
The Christian race isn’t like that, though. You’ll never fool the Race Official. He knows.
You’ve got to “lay aside” the blatant rebellion against God if you want to run the race He sets before you. If you try to hang onto your rebellion and still run the race, you aren’t running the race He gave you, you’re running a race of your own making, on a course that leads to points unknown, without map or compass, but with the assurance that it isn’t going to end with a victory, but in disaster.
The best you can hope for is that you’ll get caught before you get too far down that path. Then, if God is gracious enough to you to let someone catch you, all you’ll have to deal with is a lot of unpleasant consequences that will feel like your whole life is devastated. If you don’t get caught, it will be even worse.
But you can always lay aside the sin that easily besets. Just do it. Confess your sins, trusting God for forgiveness, and get yourself back on course. No matter how bad the sin has become, there’s still a race to be run, a prize to be won. The race may be different than it would have been if you hadn’t sinned, but that can’t be helped now. Look to run the race God has for you now, and run it to win.