As a consequence of Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte’s misremembering, misrepresentation, or outright lying about being robbed at gunpoint after an Olympic party, some companies, including Speedo and Polo Ralph Lauren, among others, have dropped their sponsorship/endorsement deals with the Olympic medalist. Whether it was exaggeration or outright fabrication, the operative word here is “consequence.”
Apparently, the most gifted among us are not always the most honorable. One need only look around at professional sports and the entertainment industry for example after example of individuals with gifts, the magnitude of which vastly exceeds their apparent moral aptitude.
In my own simplistic logic, I find myself picturing God creating souls and bestowing on some, these amazing gifts – some born to be great athletes, musicians, actors, writers, etc. They are gifts, because the individuals did nothing to earn them. They were, quite simply, blessed by God with these remarkable talents.
I am then left to wonder. Did the parents, teachers, and/or coaches of these individuals, recognizing the talent, spoil and coddle them throughout their lives to the point where the gifted became and believed they were entitled? At some point in a lifetime of almost constant winning and subsequent indulgence, do they just come to think themselves as above the rules, laws, and standards of behavior the rest of us must follow?
This is likely a “chicken/egg” discussion. However, we continue to see these things, ranging from such extremes as O.J. Simpson, to the non-criminal, but disappointing Tiger Woods’ “amorous indiscretions,” Lance Armstrong’s alleged “ped” use, Bill Cosby, and now this simply embarrassing situation for a celebrated Olympic swimmer. I cite those examples as more high profile and recent. Yet, stories of blatant indiscretions of the “celebrated,” over the centuries, ranging from criminal to merely disgusting, disappointing failure to demonstrate honor or any sense of morality, would fill volumes.
I am often reminded of a line from the 1984 movie Amadeus,where Antonio Salieri (played by F. Murray Abraham), was so disheartened that the crude, lustful, vulgar Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tom Hulce) was born with such a magnificent musical gift, when Salieri longed for such blessing, and promised to praise God with it. Yet, despite his prayers, Salieri had only mediocre musical talent, and finally, in despair, asked, “What was God up to?”
I found that single line so funny, yet painfully poignant, and I don’t think Salieri’s resentment was that uncommon. I’m guessing many of us have thought, at some time, “If only I had that gift, talent, opportunity…I would use it for good, and give the glory to God.”
For those born with the God-given gifts, we can only offer the advice Jiminy Cricket gave Pinocchio: “Let your conscience be your guide.”
And if you don’t have a conscience, it might be a good idea to just learn something from the consequences of your poor judgment.
Now, for the proverbial “call to action:”
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