Great Wisdom from a Stupid Movie

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Like most people, I have watched many movies. Most of them were entertaining, while some were a bit more than merely entertaining, or a bit less. There have been a handful of movies which I watched till the end and thought “I’ll never be the same after this” while there were a handful of others that left me regretfully saying to myself “well, there’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back.”

One movie that’s actually towards the lower end of the second category was “The Great White Hype.” Meant to be a satirical/comedic critique of the corruption in professional boxing, it featured Samuel L. Jackson in a role parodying the real-life boxing promoter Don King, along with his crew of amusingly slimy henchmen, including a Jewish character played by Jon Lovitz.

The great kernel of wisdom I received from this otherwise galactically stupid movie came about midway through when Jackson’s character is looking through a pile of newspaper articles which harshly criticize him for his corrupt and generally dishonorable behavior. He turns to Lovitz’ character, who is supposed to be his press agent, and reads some of the headlines before angrily demanding to know “why are they sayin’ these things about me?!”

Lovitz character stands with his mouth helplessly hanging open for a few moments before quietly responding “well…because…it’s true.”

I don’t remember if I laughed at this brilliantly delivered line, but for sure, the fifteen seconds or so that it took for this short little scene to happen in the movie made it possible for me to not regret the other 90 minutes and 45 seconds or so that I wasted watching the rest of it. Because that short little scene has played in my mind many times over the years as I’ve watched real life people angrily demanding to know why someone was saying something unfavorable about them. It always made me wonder if maybe someone should remind them that the reason they were being accused of having done something wrong was “well…because…it’s true.”

Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

But in a “post-truth” world, the way to respond when someone accuses us of doing something that we most certainly are guilty of is to angrily demand to know who they think they are and how they DARE to make such an accusation(?!) and what proof they have and so on. Then we can start trying to change the subject by demanding to know why they’re accusing us when so and so did something at least as bad, or worse, and we don’t see anyone giving them a hard time about it (this is sometimes called “whataboutism”.)

Those who call themselves disciples of the Lord God Jesus Christ are called to act differently. We are called to CONFESS our sins if we’re guilty of them. If we’re being falsely accused, that’s a different matter. But if we ARE guilty of what people accuse us of, and we do anything other than confess that it’s true, then we’re practicing deceit and lawlessness. That will make us no different than the World, and completely powerless to be the instruments of God’s plans and purposes in this world.

Brothers and sisters, I know I’ve been repeating this point a lot lately and I’m sorry if anyone’s getting tired of it, but I can’t shake the feeling that this is THE central issue of the season of history we’re moving through. A “post-truth” world is inherently and catastrophically dysfunctional. It will be a dark, dangerous, terrifying world. It will be a world in which even the smallest light will shine brightly and which will attract many.

So be truthful. Exercise integrity. Shun deceit and hypocrisy, even when you can gain some temporary advantage from it.

Be willing to admit it when you’ve made a mistake and/or lost your way. Be willing to admit it when something or someone you passionately believed in and defended or maybe even worked for was unrighteous or corrupt. 

Be the light in the darkness. Be something that’s going right in a world where so much is going wrong.

Do that, and watch God work miraculously through you.