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Points to Ponder: Why do we marvel at ruined lives?

Points to Ponder
Why do we marvel at ruined lives?

Why do people marvel at the antics of actor Charlie Sheen? It seems that when the life of a star begins its fiery fall from the heights of fame and notoriety, the media runs on it. And the public soaks it up. Why? What is the draw?
Our Sunday Bible study found some points to ponder in the Proverbs. Sheen has a lot to say, the supply of his rants exceeds the substance they contain.
"A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart" (Proverb 18:2).
As he continues to proclaim his heart and his innermost thoughts, he's burning bridges and is making himself virtually unemployable within his field.
"A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul" (Proverbs 18:7).
There is an additional lesson we discussed from this same area of the Proverbs. Most of us, particularly in our teen years, were convinced of our superior wisdom. And we boldly said so. Over time we (hopefully) learned.
"He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive" (Proverbs 17:27-28).
But fame and fortune seems to be disconnected from wisdom. And the less they know the more entitled they feel to talk about it.
The public eats this up and finds the silliness of it all entertaining. Some of us shake our heads in disgust ("What a waste of talent."); while others feel a deep sadness. How far is he from "hitting bottom?" And when that day comes, assuming he survives the crash landing, what will become of him? What we're viewing in the decline and fall of this young actor is a humbling picture of the potential of human nature. When our basest tendencies are allowed to flow unrestrained, we can become a type of suicide bomber. Our choices drive us to self-destruction. Those who love us most take the blast right in the heart, as they stood by helplessly. There is no law against arrogance.
"Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty,..." (Proverb 18:12a).
So why do so many people consider these things to be "news"? Isn't it like a type of gossip? The tabloid writers and the TV talk people openly dissect and expose aspects of celebrity lives and we enjoy the show.
"The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body" (Proverb 18:8).
I recall one radio station that used to have a contest called "Tabloid Trash Roulette." Basically, the host would read some gossip story, then listeners would call in their guess of who was being described.
Imagine your darkest secrets, most embarrassing mistakes, becoming material for a comedy sketch, or a magazine article. Why are so many of us entertained by stories of ruined lives?
In sadness and disgust, we may shake our heads and write off these "crazy" people. But there is something else to consider.
"The words of a man's mouth are deep waters;..." (Proverb 18:4a).
The rantings have roots. The content of their words and actions come from deep below the visible surface. We are warned in Galatians 6 and First Corinthians 10:12 to be careful and conscious of our own weaknesses.
How sad it is for these celebrities to have so much and yet be so empty. What can we learn about our own dark side? Fame is just a magnifying glass. They are not so different from us except the decline is steeper and more public.

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 7:50pm, both days. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com.

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