As I was standing at the checkout line at the grocery store yesterday, I caught sight of the magazine racks. I usually do a quick scan of the teasers listed on each one, and find they range from practical (“80 Ways to Make Chicken” ) to silly (“Couple Adopts Space Alien Baby”).
Seeing the newest OK and Star headlines, the writer in me started to wonder what it would be like to work at one of those magazines. I imagined being hired basically to produce juicy stories about people, and the more provocative the better.
For a moment I thought it could be kind of fun. After all, I find there’s a thrill in the hunt for a good story. And having worked for a newspaper in the past, I’d be familiar with the routine of putting out feelers, then validating the information that comes in as well as the sources. In a way you could call It detective work.
But then I considered what I’d really be doing day in day out. In essence, I’d be looking for someone else’s drama, and announcing it to the world. And if, as I’ve heard accused, some of those stories are made up by editors, I’d be fabricating a lie about a person that could actually do damage. But just as I was feeling good about not writing for one of those outfits, a question suddenly popped into my head:
How many times have I spread bad news about someone?
More than I’d like to admit. And why did I do that? Was my just to let others know about a prayer need? Or was there a thrill in telling a juicy story? Did I hope that being the messenger would be a way to gain some attention for myself? And, even more concerning, could I have used my words of concern as a way to cover some judgemental thoughts?
By the time I left the store I felt pretty convicted. Yes, struggles happen to best of us, and we all make mistakes. But my role is not to proclaim those bits of news unless I’m asked to. Instead, I need to take what I hear and lift up my prayers in quiet.