My hubby and I went to see the Whitney Movie. When it was over, I couldn’t move. I just sat processing what I had just seen! There were several lessons I took away from it that apply to relationships and life. Here are two:
1. Fame is not the Prize!
I see many people seeking fame, but in actuality what they are seeking is significance, words of affirmation, power, respect and other esteem building emotions. The problem is that FAME is not the best route to that destiny. The same mouths that can make you feel significant on the way up are the same mouths that can make you feel like trash as you’re spiraling downward. If Jesus had built his self esteem on the Hosannahs of the crowds, He would have lost his identity when they demanded, “Crucify him!” When you define your self worth, create your brand, or define who you are by your mate’s love or people’s likes, you have built your empire on quicksand. Know who you are before you ever know fame. Appreciate the likes and the compliments but never “NEED” them. Don’t allow the applauds to be your drug or adrenaline. On the opposite end, see the complaints but NEVER be paralyzed by them. Remember, fame is not the goal, it is the price you pay for influence.
2. Assume there is a back story and be compassionate.
I’ve watched the rise and painful fall of many celebrities, preachers and just everyday folks in my lifetime. What has been consistent is the harshness of the onlookers during the fall. People once revered become jokes, memes, and financial gain for those who can capture the right picture or video when that person is at their worst. It’s as if people are angry with the fallen for not maintaining the fantasy they created. Fans feel deceived. They fell for the captivating images and perfect branding that marketing masters sold them with intentions of big profits. People want to believe what they see in people, even when they know it’s not even possible to be the totality of who that person is. I can still hear the words I heard my mother repeat hundreds of times, “Be nice. You don’t know what people have been through.” The Whitney Movie finally gave us the back story. It was a back story that millions could relate to. The question is, why do we need a back story to treat people with compassion? We should always assume there is a back story when we see self-destructive behavior. If hurting people hurt people, why don’t we care about what’s hurting them. You don’t have to put yourself in the line of their fire to do that. Simply shut your mouth, give them grace, don’t create further pain, and keep it moving. The truth is YOUR back story is often what causes you to choose harshness or disdain over compassion. It’s simple; do unto others as you would have them do unto you....even when it’s your spouse, parent or friend.
Next time you see someone tumbling, or already in pieces on the ground, choose to pray for them rather than criticize them. Allow your heart to go out to the FUTURE Whitney, Michael, Prince, or Elvis. Choose compassion for your addicted promiscuous father, your abandoned harsh mother, your traumatized self-destructive sibling, and to your abused depressed friend. Pray that God will heal their hurts, redefine their self-worth and reconstruct their identity so that it is founded on God’s love, rather than on other peoples likes.