Sex Scandals, misappropriations of funds and cover-ups…all eventually lead to fallen idols. Whether it’s in the church, business, government, Hollywood, or in the home, one thing is for sure when these things occur someone falls off the pedestal.
We have watched the falling of many idols in recent years. Whether it's Bill Clinton, Catholic priests, Martha Stewart, Michael Jackson and his sister Janet Jackson, or others ...the uncovering of such crimes or sins also reveals whether we have idolized someone. They fall and we are shaken.
The degree to which we are shaken also reveals the height to which we elevated them and the power we gave them in our lives. There are few things that can be as troubling as finding out that someone you looked up to, put your trust in, believed in has committed some shameful act. Usually we are clueless that we have idolized someone until they fall.
There can be several reactions when an idol falls. One of the most common reactions is denial. Denial is powerful. It basically is lying to yourself. You know, like smoking and telling yourself you would never get cancer. We make excuses, blame shift, anything but accept the truth about the situation.
The other most common reaction is devastation and loss of trust, not just in the person you had on the pedestal, but in the institution they represent, others in the same profession, and in yourself. Yes, it can result in a self doubt that can follow you for years. How can you trust yourself to discern and not be deceived again?
When a Hollywood idol falls we may be disappointed but shrug it off because while movie and music stars are often the object of man’s idolizing, it’s not because of their purity. When someone in government falls, this can be extremely disappointing, result in anger, a “no” vote next time around, and also apathy and cynicism. When it happens in the church it carries much more weight, for the church, everyone knows, is suppose to be clean, trustworthy and willing to expose the truth no matter what.
So when moral failure occurs in church leaders, we can be shaken pretty hard. Though not as hard as if it were a family member, but close. We look for those who will stand for the right regardless of the consequences. When this is not done and cover-ups and denials occur we lose heart and walk away disillusioned. Sadly to say, this happens all too often.
So, what is the answer? Well, what I have learned is that there is only One who will never fall, who I can safely put on the pedestal...and that is God. When He is in His rightful place in my life I can see and deal with all the failures life may bring, in truth and forgiveness…it’s the only way I have found not to be shaken.
-Promted thoughts from my interview with Dr. Lee Podles, which you can hear online at http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/changing_worldviews/Archives.asp
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