Maybe you saw the story the other day about a real boy who got kicked out of a real school for throwing an imaginary grenade at some imaginary bad guys. At first, I was agitated that a school would do this. Are we so sensitive now that we can’t even pretend that there is evil in the world to fight against? It sounds so ridiculous! I had all kinds of thoughts about this running through my head, but deeper than all of the reaction, a current kept running – there’s more to the story:
Loveland school district denies mom’s claim boy suspended for imaginary grenade – The Denver Post. It turns out, the kid wasn’t kicked out because of his imaginary war games, but because of ongoing discipline problems that the school cannot divulge without violating his ‘right to privacy’.
When the Manti Te’o story broke recently, I had the same feeling. Reports of an imaginary girlfriend (imagination’s really getting a bad rap lately!), accusations of conspiracy and coverup… There were suddenly lots of questions to be answered. But headline writers and ‘news’ (come on, should we really even call this news?) reporters didn’t seem to care for the unanswered questions as they rushed to condemn. Despite dropping a few ‘fake girlfriend’ jokes, I just kept thinking – there’s more to the story.
Remember Lance Armstrong? How many people looked foolish because they stood behind him and defended him for years, only to find out by his own admission, he cheated? They couldn’t bear to think of their yellow jersey-clad hero disgracing himself, so they ignored the headlines and the allegations as they stacked up higher and higher. So many ignored the growing signs that there’s more to the story.
These isolated incidents leave me thinking 3 things:
- Don’t take the headlines at face value. Headlines are designed to sell, not to actually inform us of actual facts. Beyond that, often the news reports themselves (no matter what your favorite news source is) are often so twisted by personal or social agendas or experiences that they barely resemble the truth. Take the ‘news’ with a grain of salt.
- Don’t forget, when you come across someone you want to keep at arm’s length, there’s more to their story, too. Maybe they lash out because they’ve never seen another way to keep themselves safe. Or maybe they put up walls for the same reason. Maybe they’re hurtful because they’re hurting. Maybe, if someone took the time to get to know their story, they’d find the hope and healing they need.
- Don’t let your past define your identity. You’ve messed up and come to the conclusion that you’ll never escape the mistakes you’ve made. But, there’s more to your story, too. It can get better. Maybe it’s time to let go of the guilt and discouragement that have been dragging you down and take hold of humanity’s hope.