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Once there were two men. One was a politician, the other a professional football player. Both placed winning above any other consideration. The irony is that both men would have won their respective contests.

In the 1972 presidential election, Richard Nixon was not going to be beaten by the hapless George McGovern. Yet, Nixon felt the need to spy on McGovern’s headquarters in what we know now as Watergate—the hotel where the break-in occurred. Every scandal since then has been _____gate. Nixon was on top of his game and the world.

Coach Belichick in a nixonesque pose.

Coach Belichick in a nixonesque pose.

Thus, we have Deflategate and Tom Brady, our other man in this story. Tom Brady is arguably football’s biggest star.  Winner of four Super Bowl rings and a three-time Super Bowl MVP, his team is the reigning world champion.  He has been selected to ten Pro Bowls and has won more divisional titles than any quarterback in history. Now many will connect Tom Brady with Lance Armstrong, Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, and other athletes tied to cheating scandals—and Richard Nixon.  Each of them was already superior.  What drove them to do it? I’m sure that Tom Brady did not want to be associated with Richard Nixon, Lance Armstrong and others who cheated their way to the top. In the coming days, just as the media with Brian Williams, past victories will be scrutinized anew—did he cheat before? And what about Coach Bill Belichick and his reputation? Not the first time the Patriots have been caught cheating.

The desire to be number 1. Who remembers #2, the runner-up, the also rans? Our culture makes heroes of the winners and goats of the losers. For athletes the pressure to be #1 is even greater, as offers to endorse this product or that product come pouring for the winner—not so much for the loser.

What does the Bible say? Something like the last shall be first and not to think of ourselves more highly that we should.

  • When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. –Proverbs 11.2
  • Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. –Proverbs 16.18
  • But many who are first will be last, and the last first. –Matthew 19.30

The best way to resist the culture’s pressure to cheat is to consider the end from the beginning. Count the cost.  Know that Satan will never tempt you to do something that is in your ultimate best interest. Recognize that God knows your sin even if no one else does.  And choose the eternal reward of personal integrity. (from the Denison Forum)

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