I can’t tell you the last time I watched a beauty pageant on TV. I’m not opposed to them, they just don’t interest me at all. This year’s Miss Universe Pageant will go down in history as a memorable one. For the person who has not yet heard, Steve Harvey, who hosted this year’s event, mistakenly crowned the first runner-up as the winner. He was notified of the error and made a gracious apology and crowned the correct winner.
I can not even imagine how embarrassing that moment was for him. Talk about a mistake! I can remember how bad I felt when I met a student for the first time and I thought HE was a girl, based on his haircut, and made the gender mix-up when talking with his parents. I still feel bad about that, and it was many years ago.
While there is great sport to be made over an error as large as Steve Harvey’s (and some of them on Facebook have made me smile), it does make me ponder as a Christ follower about my attitude toward this public mistake. I know I would not like my most embarrassing moment shared a million times on Facebook. I also know I have made blunders in my years as a public speaker and teacher that made me go red in the face.
I think it is time for a little Christian charity for Steve Harvey. [Tweet “I think it is time for a little Christian charity for Steve Harvey.”]
This morning, I saw a post by a well-meaning youth director who posted a photo of Steve with some humorous text about there being “youth group tonight . . . JK , no youth group tonight.” When I first saw the photo, I thought, how creative . . . but then it struck me. Here was a youth ministry “oops.” I know the message was intended to get people’s attention and make them laugh, but what message did it send? Please do not get me wrong—I might have jumped on that ship as well if I was still in congregational ministry.
Does this tell our students, “If I find out about your most embarrassing event, I will publicly mock you”? Does it open the door of approval for our students to mock others at their misfortune? Where is that magic “unsend” button we all wish our computers had. In some ways, I really wish my computer had a 24-hour hold on everything I do—to give me time to ponder and delete if needed.
My comments on Facebook to the youth pastor who shared his image have received some sharp blowback. Here, too, I might have erred by posting my thoughts in the comment stream and not as a private message. Mistakes are part of life—let’s learn from them and help the student we serve learn from them. There is great teaching in the events of the Miss Universe Pageant about taking responsibility for your actions, about seeking forgiveness and granting forgiveness, and about a God who forgives and forgets. I have been Steve Harvey. And, I’ll bet, so have you.
Just a stumbling servant pondering the Word,
I would truly love to know your thoughts—share them in the comment section below.