Tuesday, June 25, 2013

If You Can't Stand the Heat . . .


John 8:7
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."

By now, I'm sure most of us have heard the news about Food Network super star, Paula Deen.  She admitted in a deposition involving a lawsuit against her brother to having used the "N" word in the past.  The media reacted to this as if Paula had dropped an "A" bomb on an unsuspecting populace.

Clearly, any high-profile person needs to be particularly mindful of what comes out of their mouths.  And, I'll be the last one to condone labeling anyone of ANY ethnicity with a derogatory term.  But, honestly, can any of us claim we have never said or done something which we shouldn't have?  Things which we later came to regret?  Is there anyone of us out there who has not harbored a grudge, a misconception, or a prejudice against people who appear different from us?

Paula may have celebrity status, but, like the rest of us, she is only human.  She makes mistakes.  She, like everyone of us, is far from perfect.

Yet, there are those lined up with stones in their hands, gloating because the mighty have fallen. (2 Samuel 1:19)  Pointing to the speck in Paula's eye without first removing the plank from their own. (Matthew 7:5)

There are four reasons why I choose to come to Paula's defense.

She told the truth.  Paula did not have to admit to her shameful behavior in that deposition, but she chose honesty over saving her own skin.  For that, I admire her.

It happened in the PAST.  I have a closet which I call my "BBC" - Before Becoming Christian.  It contains more skeletons than Ezekiel saw on that dry, dusty desert.  (Ezekiel 37:1-11)  Do you have one of those, too?  I say Paula's past, and mine, are behind us.

She apologized.  Paula issued a video which you can watch here in which she publicly apologized for her indiscretions.  You can take this as being sincere or not, but she did say she was sorry.  I believe her.

She asked for forgiveness.  In this same video, Paula also asks for forgiveness for her past behaviors.  To ask forgiveness means one accepts the fact that one has sinned.  When Peter ask Jesus how many times he should forgive another, "Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.'" (Matthew 18:22)  I forgive her.

But, not an hour passes after the release of this video when Food Network tersely announces that they will not renew Paula Deen's contract when it expires next month.  Boom!  Just like that!

Guess they couldn't stand all that heat in their kitchens . . .

~

Have you ever said or something which you regretted saying or doing?  Did you ask for forgiveness?

Will you pray with me?
Help us, Father, to always remember that not one of us is perfect, that we all sin and fall short of Your glory.  We thank You for sending Your Son, Christ Jesus, to die for our sins and forgive us our transgressions.  May we ever be quick to forgive others when they have wronged us, and to ask forgiveness when we have sinned against another.  Amen.

34 comments:

  1. A very good write Martha :) It is nice for a change to read the views of a cool, collected mind. I don't condone ethnic slurring and all of your points are well made.

    Thank you for this post.

    Be well,
    Ron

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Ron! So glad you liked the post today. Where would any of us be without forgiveness?
      Blessings to you!

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  2. A famous and highly-regarded pastor once said, "None of us could stand the light of day."

    I don't watch cooking shows or buy celebrity cook books... but I just may start if I can find anything of Paula's left on the shelves. The utter hypocrisy behind all this is mind-numbing. I've been thinking about writing about all this myself but frankly have been too angry to put too sentences together. Thanks for this, friend.

    And yes, to answer your question(s), yes, yes, yes.

    Good grace!

    And good stinkin' grief.

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    1. Thanks for visiting today, Andy!
      Yes, my friend, when this happened to Paula, I was beside myself with anger and indignation. This is one post I had to write and re-write until I calmed down and was able to choose thoughts and words wisely.
      And, I agree with the pastor you quoted wholeheartedly - what a great comment!
      Blessings to you, my friend!

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  3. Oh,I don't know this story Martha... and neither the "N" word.

    Forgiveness is a recurring theme over the past few weeks from the Gospel to The Purpose Driven Life and to the blogposts I'm currently reading...

    I say,"peggio per loro..." they could have at least given her a chance since, as you shared, she has apologized. Well, I could give the same advice to myself and be more patient with my weaknesses.

    We really couldn't take back the words that have flown out of our mouths...they do have lasting effects... but I look up to God for His mercy...

    I pray with you... may we truly learn how to forgive just as You did... and just as You have taught us in Your prayer... "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us."

    Love you dear friend!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by today, Melissa, as I know how busy you are these days!
      I won't say it here, but the "N" word in the States is an insulting term used to describe a black person. Ironically, some black people use the same word to describe themselves, but people of Caucasian descent had better not breathe it, i.e., what happened to Paula.
      And, where would we be without forgiveness for our wrongdoings? I give thanks to our Lord that He has covered my sins and made me new!
      Thank you for praying with me, dear one. May we all have forgiveness in our hearts!
      Love and blessings!

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  4. I had read somewhere that if you seek forgiveness with a genuine heart even God forgives you for that mistake. Yes I have erred a lot in life and yes I have asked for forgiveness more than that for I know in this world He is the only person who will accept me with all my flaws and loads of love!

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    1. Oh, yes, God will forgive us when we turn to Him in humility and repentance. That is the greatest gift to us, for we surely do need it!
      Thanks so much for visiting today, Me!
      Love and blessings!

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  5. Interesting that Paula reached celebrity status in the first place. She urges her followers to elaborately prepare poison for ingestion, which ultimately resulted in her own heart attack. What surer sign do we need of her ignorance and disrespect for the human race and herself? Why are we surprised she's also disrespectful in other ways like using the 'N' word?

    Personally, I'm not interested in apologies or forgiveness. My mission is to see who people are by the way they behave and choose my friends and role models accordingly.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Linda, and for your thoughtful comment.
      Yes, we can tell so much about others by simply observing whether or not they walk their talk. However, I feel no one is perfect, we all make mistakes, and if anyone who knew me "BBC" as I described above, and wished to judge me by that, they certainly would not see who I am today.
      People can change for the better. I believe Paula has.
      Love and blessings!

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    2. Not interested in apologies or forgiveness - well now that's a sad statement.

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  6. I so needed this reminder today. Thank you.

    ... Delighted to meet you.

    I hope you don't mind if I splash around a bit to get to know you. This looks like a refreshing place to dip my toes into some serious momma goodness.

    Your words splash me with encouragement. I would be honored to have you splash some other mommas as well. This post (or another fave) would be such a blessing to share. Just moms. Sharing our notes. Creating a melody.

    I jot a few notes on Monday, but its a jump in whenever you can melody. We get the filled to the brim momma schedules.

    Splashin'
    Sarah
    http://justsarahdawn.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-new-to-do.html

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    1. Delighted to meet you, too, Sarah! Glad you stopped by and happy that this was an important reminder for you about encouragement and God's love which is present for us all.
      Stay in touch!
      Love and blessings to you and all in your group.

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  7. Thank you :) My husband is currently serving overseas and he heard about this before I did-- we talked about it this morning. I find it sad what this world is coming to. NO ONE is perfect. I feel like the decent "stars" of our day are publicly humiliated for owning up to bad things, and the over-the-tops "stars" are applauded and followed as an example. Completely atrocious how the media will change any story to either make us love it or hate it, even though it should usually be the complete opposite. They should be ashamed for such manipulation. *end rant*

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    1. Samantha, I'm so glad that you took the time to visit and comment here. Thank you so much!
      So proud of your husband's service to our country; his commitment in the light of our government's wavering speaks volumes to his conviction that we are a country under the law of our precious Constitution. May God continue to bless him and you!
      We all fall short of the glory of God, and I will be the first to admit it. I need Him! If we fail to look at our own shortcomings, we are not cutting God the slack He needs to heal us.
      I hope the media would realize shame . . . May God grant that!
      Blessings to you!

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  8. Martha: You articulated my thoughts so well!! We all have things we regret we have said or done. We as a body of Christ need to cover each other in prayer but also in Love.. bc Love covers a multitude of sins. I think this is what you are doing!!

    In these days now and to come, I see the darkness getting darker and lines are being drawn on which walk we will agree to walk and what standards we will stand up for. I believe HIS light will illumine the darkness around us. I know we both agree that we would rather stand up for HIM and His Goodness and Mercy upon her, and others like her, than to see the darkness/evil consume all of our God given blessings.

    Thanks again for posting and having this blog available!! You are such a blessing to me!!

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    1. Cindy, I am right there with you, dear friend. I see the darkness; I see the world closing in. But, I remain hopeful and confident in the Lord, praying each day for His revelation and guidance.
      None of us are perfect, and never will be until He meets us face-to-face. And, yes, love covers a multitude of sins, the very ones for which Jesus died. Oh, how richly we are blessed!
      We will stand, united in His love. We will never waver!
      You, dear Cindy, are a blessing to me!

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  9. Hi Martha,
    I do not know the story nor do I know who Paula is...but, I can say that the media blows up and makes issues unnecessarily. And because she is a celebrity today, they are making her apologize for something she said in the past. We all say things in the heat of the moment and in anger which reinforces the fact that we are human.

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Janu!
      Yes, there is not one of us who has not said or done something we later regret. Where is forgiveness? Where is understanding?
      I appreciate your support, my friend. Seems like I've more than ruffled some feathers with this one.
      Love and blessings!

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  10. Hi Martha, like Janu, I don`t know this lady or the incident. People are very quick to judge and to throw stones. May this be a lesson for all of us - we all have skeletons in the closet.

    Great post!
    Nelieta

    http://nelmitravel.com

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    1. Oh, yes, Nelieta, skeletons aplenty! I'm so glad our God is forgiving; just wish people would be willing to extend that same forgiveness . . .
      Thanks so much for visiting, my friend!
      Love and blessings!

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  11. You did an excellent job of presenting the issue succintly and to the point Martha.

    My two cents for what it is worth: we each follow our path in life, and make choices, as well as mistakes. If we are lucky, we learn from these mistakes and grow in wisdom throughout our lives. If not, we become bitter, judgmental people.

    Tolerance. If we all had tolerance of others in abundance, there would be nothing for the media to grasp and hype, or castigate. And the world would be a better place to live in.

    Thanks for an excellent post, Martha!

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    1. Thank you for visiting, Cathy, and for your excellent comment!
      I so agree that we all make mistakes and wrong choices as we muddle through this journey of life. We will become bitter and judgmental of others if we can't ask forgiveness from God and forgive ourselves for our own foibles. He is standing at the ready, ever reaching out in love. We would all be more tolerant of the transgressions of others if we could accept that.
      Love and blessings to you!

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  12. I dare say there is not a person alive who has not had to eat his or her shoe, and likely regretted it the moment it passed. I think sometimes the only right word is silence. Kudos to you for taking the time to articulate and sharing the verses.

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    1. Shoe leather does leave a nasty taste in the mouth, doesn't it, Brenda? Yuck! I'll be the first to admit I've had my share of that.
      Thanks for your support, my friend. It means so much as I seem to have touched some nerves on this issue. Just have to say what I think is right!
      Love and blessings, my friend!

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  13. As a latina living in Savannah and have covered many events where Paula has been present I will say she is kind and friendly and that is it ;)

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Adriana!
      It's wonderful to hear from someone with first-hand experience in being around Paula. Thanks so much for sharing this!
      Love and blessings!

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  14. Thanks, Martha. Society demonstrates self-destructive tendencies in so many ways, including even trivial ones like this...

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Richard, and welcome!
      I know - sad, but true - forgiveness just doesn't seem to be in the vernacular of the secular.
      Blessings, my friend!

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  15. Martha, your post was very thoughtful and there is no one in the world who has not done or said something that was against what God would have us do. I enjoyed Paula Deen when I would see her in guest appearances on talk shows as she seemed warm, funny and true to her southern roots. I even have a recipe of hers that I use from time to time, so it does not please me to see her downfall.

    Unfortunately, the media is focusing on one aspect of the story, one which will get the masses riles up, the issue is broader. Paula and her brother are being accused of bad workplace behavior which include sexism and racism that had occurred over a period of time. Paula also has allegedly made comments about African Americans in what she would call a joking manner as recent as a few years ago, describing a Black friend of hers as being darker than a black board in front of a crowd of people and wanting to recreate a slave wedding for a friend or family member.

    There are a lot of other allegations being thrown around as well and since I wasn't there to witness it, I can't say if they are true or not. I don't stand in judgement of her, but the things that I did hear are disappointing.

    One thing you wrote in one of your comments was a little jarring, "Ironically, some black people use the same word to describe themselves, but people of Caucasian descent had better not breathe it, i.e., what happened to Paula." As a Black person, hearing anyone use this term makes me cringe. It's a horrible word with a horrible history. Not all Black people use it either so it's really frustrating to keep hearing this argument come up. Just because you see someone doing something bad to themselves doesn't mean you should follow suit. I hold fast to that belief. We all should be held accountable for our own behavior.

    I don't stand in defense of Paula because I honestly don't know what happened in the workplace to make one of her Caucasian employees file suit against her, and I wasn't privy to the actual conversations or incidents that took place. All I have is what the papers are saying and her apologies and justifications. She herself mentioned that some of her Black employees use the N word, but that should be of no matter to her in regard to her usage. When she was asked in an interview whether or not she thought Black people would be offended by her usage of the N word she said she didn't know and used hearing some other Blacks using the word as justification. That disappointed me deeply. Just because a group of people do something why would that make you paint all of them as one? Does she really not know that most Black people would be offended? Does she think her good friend Oprah would not be offended?

    So as I said, I don't stand in defense of her behavior, but I do stand in prayer because I don't know her heart. Only God does and only he can help her change it she truly harbors bias against any group of people. Thanks for this post as a way to discuss if calmly Martha. This is a hot button topic for many.

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  16. Please pardon the typos. :-)

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    1. Wow, my friend, I absolutely respect and admire what you have taken such thought and care to write here. True, there are other allegations (you enlightened me here) regarding Paula and her brother. I don't excuse her behaviors, though maybe it sounded that way when I used the word "defense", but, as a Christian, I forgive her. I pray she's learned a lesson from this and that her heart has changed.
      And, I am well aware that the vast majority of Black people are highly offended by "N" word. I don't understand why certain groups feel free to use it, though, to refer to one another and don't seem to see it as a demeaning term. I was taught from an early age to never disparage another human being by calling them a repulsive name. I, too, cringe every time I hear anyone use this term. Thank goodness, that's not very often!
      I appreciate the time you took to express your take on this situation with such honesty, clarity, and, yes, with love. You have an incredible heart, Tameka, and such a gift for writing from your soul. God has certainly blessed you in a mighty way!
      Thank you again for all you have stated here.
      Love and blessings to you always!

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  17. Thanks Martha. I am very disheartened at the divide in the world after all of these years when it comes to race and class. We have a long, long way to go when it comes to truly loving and respecting one another. I have faith that one day incidents like this will be a thing of the past. We should be embracing and learning from one another. I will continue to pray for our beautiful world! :-)

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    1. Tameka, I always wish to recall the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., to have his children judged not by the color or their skin, but by the content of their character. This statement should remind us that we need to be more united than divided; I just wish more would quote this and more would live by it . . .
      Keep on keeping on, my friend! With God's love and support, we can make this a beautiful world!

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