It has been interesting watching the media’s response to the Brian Williams debacle. In a world where they usually devour political figures, sports stars, and A-listers, they have turned the knife on one of their own in a curious form of professional cannibalism.
Even during the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live, they didn’t hesitate to join suit as Jerry Seinfeld took the stage mocking Williams, saying, “You know there are so many things about Saturday Night Live that people don’t know. For example, one of the original cast members in 1975 was Brian Williams. I don’t know if that’s true, but I never heard that. It doesn’t sound true.”
And all of this over embellishing a story and twisting the facts.
Now, I’m not permitting lying or even stretching the truth, but I have to ask a rhetorical question:
Isn’t that something the entire media community is guilty of?
The double standard appears to be in full effect in regards to Williams’s actions, but why?
What’s really going on here?
Quick to Condemn
I believe our condemnation of other’s struggles reveals a key fault about our own condition.
Too often, when the whistle is blown, we’re quick to grab the whistle ourselves. In a bandwagon game, we jump on board and ride for as long as we can.
Because blame is a tempting substitute for responsibility.
As long as someone else is being blasted for his wrongdoing, maybe our own faults will be overlooked. If all of the fingers are pointed at someone else, then they’ll never be pointed at us.
Truthfully, we avoid self-condemnation by choosing to condemn someone else.
However, in these moments, I urge you to be cautious, because the danger is found when you begin to believe that you’re off the hook.
Microscopes vs. Mirrors
When we see other’s problems, we tend to grab the proverbial microscope and pick apart the details, not realizing that we may have some of those issues ourselves. As Jesus wisely warned, in looking for the speck in someone else’s eye, don’t ignore the plank in your own (Matthew 7:3)
In light of this flaw, I think a key way to combat this challenge is to hold up mirrors instead of microscopes.
A microscope magnifies, and a mirror reflects.
In these moments, maybe we should reflect on our own condition rather than magnify someone else’s. A mirror shows us our own faults and causes us to have compassion for others. A mirror reminds us of our flaws so we can overlook them in our peers.
However, the problem with mirrors is that they usually reveal our insecurities, thus confirming the condition stated above. Maybe it’s our insecurity that drives us to look for flaws in others—the only way we know how to justify our broken condition.
Instead, may we look in the mirror and see ourselves in a new light—with new eyes.
The Apostle John wrote these words as a reference for us in these times:
“God sent His Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that through Him, the world might be saved.” —John 3:17
Do we believe those words?
Our religious culture has failed at affirming that God’s purposes are not to condemn us. Contrary to their portrayal, He’s not a high-and-mighty, microscope-welding, unloving Father.
He’s a serving, loving, mirror-holding example.
When God looks at our broken condition, He holds the mirror. In our place, He sees Himself—His Son, Jesus.
And when we choose Him, we receive what has been available all along.
Freedom from condemnation.
So, as we journey through our own struggles and the struggles of others, may we remember to hold a mirror, because God does the same for us.