Is it me, or are we seeing a spike in influential people doing foolish things on the national stage? From current congressmen, to former governors and presidential candidates, to star entertainers, to mega-church pastors, and sports heroes, there is no famine of over-exposed celebrities falling into our headlines. It seemed at one time people ascended into the national spotlight, but nowadays the descending get water cooler prominence from sea to shining sea.
Since Eden we’ve all fallen – no exceptions. Simply put, fallen people fall. Some fall very loudly and publically. In a highly-connected society where we’re all carrying cameras disguised as mobile phones, documented falleness is everywhere around us. It is the stuff of checkout line magazines and sensationalized television. The saddest indictment is not that fallen people fall; the saddest indictment and commentary is that we like it! There is something fallen in us that enjoys other people falling – especially those who enjoy a certain slice of celebrity.
What is it? Do we somehow feel justified in our own falleness by the carnal publicized missteps of others? Does it make us feel like we’re somehow better, or at least, as good as? To quote the prophet Frank, regrets, we’ve had a few. So why do we relish in the downward spiral of others and engage in rock-throwing? As Christians, how should we respond and react to such head-wagging headlines?
One of the many things I love about the Bible is its honesty. It shares inspiring acts of faith, and, it shares embarrassing episodes alike, reminding us that it is a book about real people for real people. One of those embarrassing episodes is found in the story of Noah. In Genesis we read that when there were only eight people on the entire planet, one of them had a regrettable red-faced moment! After being used by God to preserve mankind, following the great flood, Noah planted a vineyard. From his harvest he made wine, got drunk, and passed out naked in his tent. Personally, I have seen the ‘Noah and the Ark’ theme used in baby nurseries all across America; but I have never seen ‘Inebriated Noah’ in junior’s first bedroom!
The Almighty used a faithful human being to help save mankind; yet, Noah was fallen and did something regrettable, something embarrassing, something uncharacteristic. Can you relate? Do you have a similar story? Ever worn the lampshade?
One son saw his father in this less-than-patriarchal state on the tent floor, snickered, and went to announce it to his brothers. In essence he Facebooked it, Tweeted it, and made it story one in the ‘Mount Ararat Gazette’! He couldn’t wait to share with others the poor decision his father had made. Later, Noah pronounced a curse on him for attempting to augment an already bad situation.
When the other two brothers heard about their father’s condition, they deliberately took a blanket and backed into his tent and covered his nakedness, refusing to look at their dad in that disgraced state. They in turn were blessed by their father afterward.
Friends, we’ve all been Noah. Likewise, we’ve all been his discovering son. We all have things we’re proud of and not-so proud of in our pasts. Some things honored God. Many other things didn’t. We’ve also been the first one privy to juicy information about the poor choices of others.
In those moments when others are clearly guilty, exposed, caught, embarrassed and vulnerable, as Christians, let’s back into the tent! I’m not suggesting covering-up sin, but instead, not perpetuating it for the carnal appetite and satisfaction of others. Our sinfulness cost Jesus Christ His very life. Why would we want to celebrate it in others?
So, when prominent people fall, put down the bullhorn, pray for them and their families and grab a blanket!