Last week news broke hot that Brian Williams had been caught red-handed in a lie. He came clean admitting he fabricated a story. In case you have somehow missed this story allow me to share with you a very brief summary. Through the years Williams has told a story about the day he flew aboard a U.S. Army helicopter during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. At a recent Rangers’ game Brian Williams paid tribute to a retired command sergeant major and in doing so made this comment, “The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG,” Williams said on the broadcast. “Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.” Servicemen have come forward saying Williams’ Chinook was never shot down. Read the STARS AND STRIPES article.
I want to be clear that my post in no way is intended to take shots at Brian Williams. He lied; I know he lied. His lie is especially frustrating to me as the son of a deceased career military man who served during WW II and Korea. It is also especially frustrating because one of my church members, David Morris, was flying missions aboard a Chinook in Iraq during that time. Our church prayed continually for his safety. As frustrating as it may be to me that Williams lied I am not interested in insulting him or denigrating him in any way. I am a flawed man and Williams is a flawed man. I pray for his soul to be redeemed by Jesus Christ. Having established what this blog is not about allow me to share with you what it is about. Williams suffers from what most of us have suffered with at some time in our lives. He wanted to be a hero. Let me unpack a few thoughts.
1. Some people just have something that is different from the rest of us.
In I Samuel 17 we read of a giant, Goliath, which scholars say stood anywhere from 7 to 9 feet tall. He stood before the camp of Israel and insulted the armies and the God of Israel. I Samuel 17:24 says, “And all the men of Israel when they saw the man, fled and they were sore afraid.” In verse 45 David, the young lad, says, “Thou comest to me with a sword and with a spear and with a shield but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, who thou hast defiled.”
While all others ran, David stood. Some said the giant was too big to hit; David said he was too big to miss. Policemen, firemen, soldiers, secret service and many others run to trouble while the rest are running from the trouble. These people are special for what they do and they certainly have something different from the rest of us.
2. Self-promotion is nothing new.
In Genesis 3 Eve wanted to be like God and have wisdom so she eats of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Most everyone faces the temptation to improve their stature in the eyes of others. Some will work hard to improve themselves while others may exaggerate about their accomplishments and deeds for the purpose of impressing people. In the New Testament we see a great example of this in Acts 5:1-11. Ananias and his wife Sapphira sell a piece of property and give a portion of that money to the church. However, they claimed they gave the entire sum of money they received for the land. They lied to win stature in the eyes of the early believers. In Acts 4:36, 37 we read about Barnabas being called, “The Son of Encouragement” because he sold property and gave the money to the apostles. Ananias ans Sapphira wanted to be well-known like Barnabas but rather than paying the price to help others they lied and self-promoted.
3. Christians are to never have a hero complex.
Philippians 2:3 reads, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.” We should never practice false humility. It would be ridiculous for Tiger Woods to feign humility and say he is not a good golfer. However, we should not be about self-promotion either. Christians should esteem others before themselves. Instead of building ourselves up we should encourage others and edify the body of Christ. Rather than looking for qualities about ourselves to promote we should look for the best in others to build up and encourage with.
4. Christians have one hero – Jesus Christ.
One wonderful thing about the Bible is that it reveals flaws in all the great people of God. Abraham lied, Noah got drunk, Jacob lied and cheated, Moses couldn’t control his temper and Peter denied Jesus three times. The Bible seems to be a collection of random stories about events in the lives of individuals. A collection of narratives if you will. However, we must always keep our eyes on the metanarrative of the Bible. A metanarrative in the simplest terms is the meaning or explanation of many little stories. The metanarrative of the Bible is the redemptive work of God in humans. This is ultimately fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is our hero. While reading about David, Daniel, Elijah we see their flaws and this reminds of the metanarrative of the Bible – God is redeeming human beings.
I take no pleasure in Brian Williams’ disgrace. As a matter of fact, I would love to introduce him to my hero.