American Idol is one of those shows that I said I would never watch…. Never say never. I’m not addicted but I sure don’t like to miss it. Several weeks ago there was the airing of auditions at their stop in Louisville. Well, as a Kentuckian, naturally I wanted to watch…. as if I wouldn’t have watched any other city… but you know what I’m saying. I wanted to watch people from my region have their 15 minutes or less of fame. One guy, Mark Mudd, definitely got his 15 minutes. He was in multiple commercials and highlights giving what looked to be the look of death (Say those last three words with a deep, melodic voice for a more dramatic reading) I, like the rest of America, was on the edge of my seat waiting to see exactly what happened and what we Kentuckians are like.
The time came for American Idol to focus on the life story about this guy who would eventually give the doomed evil look. From that biography we found out that he was really a pretty sweet guy who had actually gone through a lot during his life. He came in, sang his little song and didn’t make the cut. As he left he told the judges, “Take care and be careful.” The judges went ballistic… or at least Paula did. Well, I think they all did to a certain degree. They took his words as a threat…. as if the guy was telling them to be careful where they go because he might “git ’em” ….Paula jumped at the guy and told him that “you don’t say that to people…” I started thinking about it. You know, I say ” Be careful” quite a bit to people. It is an endearing goodbye as I want the recipient of those words to know that I want to see them again.
I became a little frustrated. I wondered if Paula had gone into another country like Italy and someone said, “Ciao,” would she have the nerve to say, “You don’t say that to people, you might make them think you want to eat them”? I doubt it. Good grief, we live in a huge country. Even though we are a United States, I’m thinking it wouldn’t hurt for these folks to do a little studying up on the cultural sayings of the area before they head into a region….
Regardless, the guy was just misunderstood. I would have liked to have swooped into that room, just like a superhero (I shall name me, Super Communicator) and taken that young man back in front of the judges and explained to them that he was being endearing… a gentleman. They would have seen the error of their ways and apologized before the guy was made out to be some weirdo in front of millions of people watching.
Super Communicator must have entered into the picture somewhere because American Idol posted an apology for their misunderstanding. Unfortunately for Mark Mudd, it came after the airing and more so, came quietly where most won’t even know it happened… and probably don’t care.
The American Idol judges misunderstood the intentions of a young man and in doing so they seemed to have missed out on an opportunity of warm Southern hospitality from a regular good guy.
Okay, so I’m not really Super Communicator out saving people from their state of misunderstanding but maybe someone else is (though I do like my Superhero alter ego outfit)
I’ve been there before and I know being misunderstood stinks…
In Mark 5:1-20 there are a couple of incidents of someone being misunderstood…
The whole incident is about Jesus ridding a man of a legion of demons. The guy was off living in the tombs (burial caves) by himself because of his demon possession. The community around him had given up on him and he could not be subdued by anyone nor bound by chains. So there he was among the caves literally tearing himself apart in misery. When Jesus arrived he cast out the demons into a herd of pigs. The pigs…. lots and lots of pigs …went running down a steep bank and into a lake where they drowned. Those watching the pigs (would they be considered pigherds? just curious) ran to tell the townspeople. When they went to check things out they saw the cave guy sitting up, dressed and acting normal. Others who had seen all of this take place started telling the story about what happened… verifying it… and the townspeople became frightened and begged Jesus to get out of town.
Okay, so Cave guy, he was misunderstood…. well, maybe not so much him being misunderstood as it was people just giving up on him and being frightened of him. He was obviously dangerous and violent. As a parent I can totally understand why I would be glad that he was up in those caves away from my family. I can’t say they were wrong in their fear. But there is also something else I see here….. This guy just needed Christ in his life. He was mean, unkept, weird and definitely scary to those around him, but Christ met him and changed his life. He took those demons out of his life and Cave guy became Normal guy. Sometimes I think that is how we view people… we fear them because we are unsure that they are really like us so therefore we stay far away. We misunderstand actions or looks as mean, weird or scary when we don’t understand the demons that they are wrestling…. maybe not the exact same kind of demons that Christ sent out (or maybe they were) but similar… you know, demons of worthlessness, demons of divorce, demons of addictions, demons of abuse, demons of neglect, demons of depression, demons of eating disorders and on and on…. “Cave guy” can be a neighbor, a co-worker, a teacher, a student, a friend, an enemy…. someone who needs Christ to help him get rid of those things that keep him from being able to be close to others, being loved or loving others- in reality, living life as intended…Yes, he was frightening. Yes, he was dangerous and different than others, but Christ didn’t leave him when Cave Guy bowed before him.
Then there is the rest of the story- Jesus- he was misunderstood too… Now here is a man (actually God) who has just taken this demon possessed, scary man and turned him into someone new and the people who were originally scared of this guy aren’t pleased… the words don’t really say exactly why they pleaded with Jesus to leave but I have some speculations. Other scriptures refer to disciples being terrified when Jesus calmed the storm or others thinking that Jesus was not doing the work of God but of Satan when he healed… I think Jesus’s work was too big to understand… too powerful and too much to grasp. I guess they could have been upset about the pigs dying too, but I’m leaning toward the frightened theory. Isn’t that the way we are today though? We see Christ at work but we don’t really know how to handle it. We misunderstand the intentions of God and then just like those people, we seem to want to put him on a boat and get him out of town….in other words, we don’t understand why we must go through something and we send Christ on his way all because we could not see the big picture….
We misunderstand people because we don’t understand them completely and we misunderstand the work of God because we can’t understand it completely. It seems we sure can miss out on a lot of good when we misunderstand and refuse to take another look at people and situations.
Now there is one more thing to be said about the demon possessed man … he had a serious issue and we see that Christ was the only one who could help him. I think that is important. I’m not advocating putting oneself in danger or staying in a dangerous or abusive sitution just because we are trying to understand why another person acts the way they do… Christ can open doors for professional help and treatment. Our job is prayer and listening to God for direction, protection and strength.
So that makes Christ the Super Communicator, able to take demons out with a single sentence, able to change the way we understand and able to save the world…
Have you misunderstood what God was or is doing in your life? Have you missed out on seeing his work because you asked him to go? What about a person who is hurting, alone or is aching and needs Christ to renew them? Is God asking you to be the person who goes to the caves to get that person and guide them to him? Just think what you could be missing.