TRENDY VICAR RUNS OFF WITH ORGANIST’S WIFE
SHERIFF’S SON IN MIDNIGHT DRUGS BUST
The headline may vary but the underlying message remains the same: someone else’s mistake or misfortune makes for tomorrow’s front-page news. Yet, so often, that which captures our attention is not even newsworthy. Is it really in the nation’s interest to know that some church organist now has to prepare his own supper? Of course not. And yet so often we allow ourselves to revel in the intimate details, transforming a tragedy of betrayed loyalty into an excuse to tut-tut at the shame of some complete stranger.
Divine Brown is proof of the drawing power of scandal. Twelve years ago she was caught in flagrante delicto with the English actor, Hugh Grant. What should have been an embarrassed confession to the actor’s then girlfriend, Liz Hurley, was instead told and retold on international television. Yet who gained from this sordid tryst? Ms Brown has gone on to appear on talk shows, starred in advertisements for cosmetics, and is now a music producer. But was what happened newsworthy? Hardly.
Mika Brzezinski offers hope of a better attitude. The histrionic newsreader caused a media sensation when she refused to read a story about the release from jail of the heiress Paris Hilton. Time will tell whether her defiance is anything more than a spot of grandstanding, stealing the limelight from an existing celebrity to advance her own career. But the response from other journalists hints at a longing for a return to news that has more substance and less froth.
So why are so many people infatuated by scandal? Perhaps it has something to do with pleasure at seeing others caught in vices that we ourselves would never dare entertain. Or, more worrying, relief that thus far we have got away with it. Either way it is hardly a Christian attitude: love, says the apostle, “does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” (1Cor 13:6 NKJV).
None of us is perfect. We all have skeletons in our closets. Every would-be politician knows that it doesn’t take much effort to bring to light that which was thought hidden. For most of us, our private lives remain that way – private. Yet we know that were our past mistakes to be exposed to friends and family alike, we would each be horribly embarrassed.
And yet what are we to make of these disconcerting words from Jesus?
“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” (Lk 12:2-3 NIV)
"But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment” (Mt 12:36 NKJV).
Worried? Maybe we should be. We have confidence that our sins have been forgiven; Christ has borne the shame of our iniquities. But there is a profound difference between forgiven and forgotten. Will we be called to account for our harsh actions and our insensitive words? Might our own closely guarded secrets be exposed on that Day?
I don’t know. The Scriptures are not clear. It is comforting to think that we will be let off. But it’s hard to see how justice could really be served if much of the evidence is deliberately suppressed by the chief judge. Forgiven but potentially embarrassed.
“There but for the grace of God go I.”
These words are not to be found in the Bible – they are attributed to John Bradford, the sixteenth century reformer and martyr. But they offer a more fitting reply to the drip feed of slander and gossip that modern media serves up as news and current affairs. The next time we read of some humiliating exposé, we would do better to fall to our knees in prayer, asking the Lord’s grace upon the families devastated by this latest scandal. Grace – it’s a far superior response. It compels us to pray for ourselves as well, that we in our weakness might serve the Living God in all faith and holiness.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things” (Phil 4:8 NIV)
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.