If you’re not living under a rock, you will probably have heard that tennis legend Maria Sharapova, former world number one, has admitted to failing a drug test at the 2016 Australian Open.
The career Grand Slam holder, who first reached the number one spot at age 18, tested positive for meldonium, a substance only recently banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
As you might imagine, the response to Sharapova’s revelation has been varied: Some feel sorry for her, and say she shouldn’t be punished too severely; while others feel she should take full responsibility and even retire from professional tennis.
Whatever your take on the matter, one thing is sure: It stings a little when our heroes let us down, doesn’t it?
It hurts when our role models mess up – because we trust them and expect them to know better. And while Maria Sharapova may be a role model on the world stage, you may have experienced this very same betrayal through the failing of someone much closer to you: maybe a parent; a friend; a spouse; a colleague.
So how do we deal? What do we do when those we esteem let us down or betray our trust? I think we need to be aware of two basic truths:
1. People will fail you.
If you haven’t experienced it yet, you’ll find out soon enough: People are fallible. Heroes mess up. Role models make mistakes. Loved ones may betray us. Friends may desert us. Sometimes, humans are just that: human.
The Bible actually says something to the same effect: “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.” (Psalm 146:3). If you put your trust solely in people – even those you love and respect – you are bound to be severely disappointed at some point. While you shouldn’t be distrustful of others in a nasty, negative way, you have to realise that all humans are bound to disappoint us at some point.
2. God will never fail you
On the other hand, it’s worth remembering that there’s someone who will never fail you: God. While people may disappoint you, God is the picture of consistency – his love for us is unchanging, and he never falters, fails, messes up, or acts selfishly – you can count on him to be there, even when you haven’t been. You can count on him to keep loving you. You can count on him to stick to his word.
The Bible puts it this way: “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” (Numbers 23:19)
Perhaps you’ve been hurt by the actions of others. Perhaps your trust has been betrayed. Perhaps you’ve been deeply hurt by someone close to you. That does not have to be where the story ends: God is there for you, and he will not fail you!
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