My good friend was moving from Houston to become a principal in Clear Lake, Iowa (the irony that I would move to Lubbock later), and I helped him make the move by driving one of the trucks there and unloading it. Mike and his wife both told me before we left that I would meet Uncle Oran, a man in his late 70s at that time (1995), and then they told me the stories he would share with me. He was on the "assassin's squad that was to kill Hitler in WWII." The trouble with that is that he would then tell me of the "diamonds on the beach he saw while serving in Africa" while simultaneously training to kill Hitler in Berlin. Uncle Oran is sweet, Mike's wife said, but he does make up some crazy stuff.
Sure enough, within 10 minutes of meeting him, Uncle Oran was bending my ear and telling me of his service to our country. Some things, he acknowledged, he still cannot talk about. You just smile and nod and go on. And so we learn of the anchor Brian Williams, who claimed to have flown in a helicopter that was shot down. This, of course, sparked a series of jokes on social media from being with the Founders at the signing of the Declaration of Independence to being on the moon with Neil Armstrong. In short, Williams credibility is now shot as a newsman and recovery from the "yarns he spun" will be difficult at best. He knows it and so does NBC.
But, lest we cast the first stone, isn't there a little of Uncle Oran and Brian Williams in all of us? Don't we like to make the essence of our being a LITTLE bit more important than it really is? Don't we like to perhaps have you believe we know people who count? We are, in some ways, connected to influence or power or authority? There was a short story written by James Thurber called "The Secret Lives of Walter Mitty" that came out as a movie in 2013 in which a mild-mannered man of little importance played out all the great things he had done in life in his mind. The story was hilarious to read as Mitty's mind played out his greatness while behind his desk or getting scolded by his wife.
There is a little Walter Mitty in all of us. We just don't have Brian Williams platform do we? It is tempting to finger wag, find a proverb to cite, and remind ourselves just of the shame of it all in what Williams did, but I hope we actually find a verse like Proverbs 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." That "fear" is personal. My fear of the Lord is the beginning of my knowledge. The only finger that wags should be at me. I don't seek that wisdom Christ provides, but according to Proverbs, many of us do not, "Wisdom cries out in the street, in the markets she raises her voice." (1:20). Apparently, many of us do not listen.
Thanks to God that Christ is there to provide that forgiveness when I "Walter Mitty." His sacrifice of his own life spared mine and provides salvation for me in spite of my moments of untruth and deceit, whether to myself or to others. We pray a prayer of thanksgiving for that forgiveness and grace and we pray for others who are hurt by our deceit when it happens.
Hope Men's Ministry