The Oscars are a little less than two weeks away. And I know for many of you that may not be a huge deal, but I’m always curious to see which pictures take home the big prize and how many of my predictions come true. Of course this year is particularly unique as the Academy Award’s television broadcast won’t have a host. You see, a couple of months ago the Academy named Kevin Hart as the host, but within twenty-four hours he had forfeited that privilege as people began to bring up things he had said on social media ten years previous; things he had already apologized for. And so he graciously stepped down instead of causing more controversy. And this is far from being the only case. This last summer the director of one of my favorite Marvel move series, The Guardians of the Galaxy, was fired for things he had said almost a decade ago. Recently even Liam Neeson was piled on for trying to illustrate how far he had come from his past self. We even have politicians being taken to task for things they did in college…can you imagine if you or I were held accountable for things we did in college?!?
When did we become a society that doesn’t allow people to grow? When did we become a people who didn’t believe that folks could change? This is especially troubling when people apologize or recognize the error of their ways or seek forgiveness and we don’t make space or allow for the possibility of them having changed. Even in the church we have a hard time letting go of where we felt people have stepped out of place in the past. Of all the places where we should be able to let go of people’s past?!? It’s so important to remind ourselves how God deals with our past missteps? The Psalmist put it this way, “As far as east is from west— that’s how far God has removed our sin from us.”
Psalms 103:12 And if this is how God looks at our pasts, then why are we so quick to hold past things against others?
I think it all boils down to how we look at the world and how that dictates the way in which we look at others. For some strange reason we don’t believe things and/or people ever really change. Sure technology and information increase at ridiculously rapid rates, but do people ever really change. I mean, don’t I still have the same core values and sense of expression that I had ten years ago…um, no. I’m pretty sure my personage ten years ago wouldn’t recognize who I am today; and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We are by very nature always growing and changing. The apostle Paul put it this way, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – II Corinthians 5:17 And if this is the way in which we want ourselves to be viewed, shouldn’t we also have the capacity to allow this for others. We need to learn to forgive again. We need to learn to allow for people to change and grow again. We need to find space for grace again. And maybe then our church and our world might be a truer reflection of the Kingdom of God being at hand.