Hollywood is in the news today after nominations for the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards were announced this week. Ridley Scott’s much-anticipated Exodus: Gods and Kings opens today as well. (My wife and I saw the movie last night, and I wrote a review for our website.) But some stars are in the news for less glamorous reasons.
Computer hackers calling themselves “Guardians of Peace” have apparently stolen just under 100 terabytes of data from Sony Pictures, including financial information, budgets, payroll data, internal emails, and feature films. The cyber attack could cost Sony as much as $100 million.
Stolen emails reveal that movie executives privately called Angelina Jolie a “minimally talented spoiled brat” and made racist jokes about President Obama. Other celebrities are slandered as well. One executive now says of his emails, “To anybody I’ve offended, I’m profoundly and deeply sorry, and I regret and apologize for any injury they might have caused.” But it’s impossible to un-ring a bell.
Jesus warned us: “Whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light” (Luke 12:3). How, then, should we relate to each other? “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone” (Matthew 18:15). What about those who believe you have sinned against them? “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
In other words, we are not allowed to speak about people before we speak to them. We are required by Jesus to initiate reconciliation. The person may or may not respond, but you will have done all you can.
Imagine a world where everyone followed Jesus’ wisdom. It would be a world without gossip and slander, a world without the bitter resentments that miscommunication and misunderstanding so often spark. Think of the marriages that would be healed, the family relationships that would be helped, the public and private pain that would be avoided.
I’ve been reading G. K. Chesterton’s classic Orthodoxy. He begins with the imagined story of “an English yachtsman who slightly miscalculated his course and discovered England under the impression that it was a new island in the South Seas.” He uses the metaphor to describe his personal faith experience: “I am the man who with the utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before,” the orthodox Christian faith.
Our culture doesn’t break God’s laws—we break ourselves on them. Every time we reject God’s word, we prove its truth and relevance. The good news is that the baby of Bethlehem is the Christ of the cross. He will forgive all you confess, and help you speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Will Rogers once advised, “So live that you would not be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.” Do you agree?