Celebrity is hard on families and the children of the famous. I have often told my kids that I love them so much that I took the burden of mediocrity on my career just for them. They didn’t believe it either.
Yesterday Barak Obama saw the cycle of celebrity run over him, hit the brakes and back over him again. Obama got caught repeating almost verbatim the language of an earlier speech delivered by a friend of his, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. His response yesterday was a bit defensive and suggested that his opponent also “borrowed” phrases from him. So?
To be fair Obama did acknowledge that he should have credited his friend but his overall tone was dismissive. Another celebrity had to address accusations yesterday. New York Yankee pitcher Andy Pettitte held a one hour press conference to address his use of a performance enhancing drug. His tone was contrite and repentant. The Associated Press reported the event.
"I felt like I need to come out, be forward with this," Pettitte said. "Whatever circumstances or repercussions come with it, I'll take and I'll take like a man and I'll try to do my job."
Other athletes have ducked tough questions about allegations of drug use, using evasions and nonspecific replies. Pettitte admitted his mistakes and several times patiently asked reporters, "Did I answer your question?"
"I want to apologize to the New York Yankees' and to the Houston Astros' organizations and to their fans and to all my teammates and to all of baseball fans for the embarrassment I have caused them," he said. "I also want to tell anyone that is an Andy Pettitte fan I am sorry, especially any kids that might look up to me."
"I know that once I have this press conference and talk to everybody about this and share everything with you, I think the truth will set you free," Pettitte said. "I think I'm going to be able to sleep a lot better at night once all this gets by."
The point of most of my humble ramblings is not to throw others under the bus but to see how these situations apply to me and other followers of Jesus. I am not saying that Obama is not telling the truth. Don’t get sidetracked. The point of this article is the power of confession and repentance.
The application of this story for me is personal. I have an obligation as a follower of Christ to be accurate and truthful in all of my writing and speaking. That doesn’t mean that there will never be mistakes but they should be dealt with quickly and called by their name. I totally agree with Mark Twain who said if you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.
And isn’t that a peaceful place to be? No frantic cover ups or wondering what you told him or her. Stretching the truth a bit to embellish a resume or a story is so easy. Borrowing someone else's words may not seem like a big deal. Who will find out? Chances are that someone will. Stupid Google!!!
Anytime I get found out I default to hiddenness and denial. I want to protect my image. The reality is you could protect my image with a Chihuahua. I want to look good to others and I maddeningly forget that it only matters how I look to my God. King David was man who had to squirm uncomfortably in front of the Lord God after his sad detour with Bathsheba. That was the ultimate in tragic cover-ups and lies. But David was also described as a man after God’s own heart. He wrote these words in Psalm 15:
Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD?
Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?
Those who lead blameless lives
and do what is right,
speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
Those who refuse to slander others
or harm their neighbors
or speak evil of their friends.
Those who despise persistent sinners,
and honor the faithful followers of the LORD
and keep their promises even when it hurts…
Such people will stand firm forever. (NLT)
I realize that it is only the grace of God that allows me to accept my mistakes, own them, repent and repair whatever damage I may have caused. It is only the grace of God that forgives and restores me when I do stumble. Paul wrote that all of us have the ability to fall flat at any given moment. Because of that we should be full of grace when others stumble.
If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ's law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived. (Gal 6, The Message)
Don’t be deceived. We have all been there. We will undoubtedly be there again. Jesus said this to His disciples who had claimed to believe in Him.
"If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you." (John 8 – The Message)
Just words? Nope. Absolute truth.
Dave Burchett is an Emmy Award winning television sports director, author, and Christian speaker. He is the author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People and Bring'em Back Alive: A Healing Plan for those Wounded by the Church. You can reply by linking through daveburchett.com.