Have you ever “Googled” yourself and seen what comes up? What if you did that and the biggest mistake you ever made was the first hit that came up for all to see? Can you even imagine the pain and humiliation you would experience?
For some people those questions are their personal reality. Their embarrassment is out their on the internet, the water cooler, and in social media for all to see whenever someone brings up their names. Google the names Monica Lewinski, Steve Bartman, and William Flynn to see what comes up on the search.
Monica Lewinski was 22 years old when she had an affair with her boss. Steve Bartman was at a Cubs game when he deflected a foul ball that was possibly going to be caught. William Flynn had an affair with an older, married women.
Now to describe the above names in that way truly does not adequately describe what happened in each of their cases. Lewinski’s affair was with the President of the United States. Bartman’s foul ball incident happened with 5 outs remaining in game 6 of the 2003 National League Championships, and Flynn, at age 15, murdered the husband of the older woman he was having an affair with.
Steve Bartman has remained silent on his incident. In fact, he even passed up on six figure dollar amounts to talk about it.
William Flynn just recently got paroled at age 41, after spending 25 years in prison. He has gone on to say this about where he is at.
“I will always feel terrible about what happened 25 years ago,” he said. “Parole will not change that.” When asked about his future employers, he said “The first they learn about me is the worst thing I’ve ever done.”
Lewinski has just recently broken her long silence on the entire incident. I encourage you to watch her speak about the price of shame. Monica Lewinski:The price of shame
So what is our infatuation with other people’s mistakes? Why are we so infatuated with other people’s mistakes. Is it misery loves company or are we grading ourselves on a curve by saying, “At least I didn’t do that!”
Regardless of why we are doing it, we are now living in an instant information, cyber bullying, viral story time period. People are just waiting, watching, and sometimes trolling with comments that would probably never get said to the person’s face but is all to easy to say while hiding behind a keyboard.
I can’t imagine what these three individuals have gone through, and are still going through. Some might say they brought in on themselves. William Flynn is a convicted murderer, for example. Lewinski was a grown adult when she made a choice to have an affair with a married man. Some say Bartman should have gotten out of the way of that foul ball, though he’d have to push through several other fans who were also making the attempt to catch it.
I am far from perfect. I can’t even imagine the pain of waking up in the morning and seeing my sins on the front page of the newspaper or in the trending section of Facebook or Twitter. Picture watching late night television and your most humiliating situation being used as part of a stand-up comedy routine to entertain people. If you really let yourself absorb that kind of pain, you’ll begin to feel a fraction of the pain and embarrassment that these, and many more like them, have felt.
I truly wonder how they make it through the day sometimes when the pain has to be so unbearable that you’d want to just crawl under a rock.
Jesus said in John 8:7 “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone.”
So the next time you find yourself clicking on a story about someone else’s shame or embarrassment, remember that there are real people involved in that story. What might seem funny for the moment could truly be someone’s living nightmare.
That girl is somebody’s daughter. That boy is someone’s brother. That person has feelings that are probably crushed right now. That person needs help just like we all need at one time or another. That person needs the same grace extended to them that we would want for ourselves when we mess up.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
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Steve DeLuca is a 12-year, stage 3 colon cancer survivor, acoustic neuroma brain tumor survivor, 22-time marathon finisher, 2007 Ironman Wisconsin finisher, happily married father of 4, and a follower of Jesus. Not all in that order.
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