Some truth for when you’re wound too tight
If you’re on social media, you probably know what happened at the Oscars on March 27: Will Smith hit Chris Rock.
If you haven’t heard about it, then yes, you read that right. No, it wasn’t a gag. Rock, who was onstage presenting, made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald hairstyle, which she’s been sporting for a few months.
Smith walked up onstage, hit Rock, sat back down, then yelled at the comedian (to use a G-rated paraphrase), “Stop talking about my wife!” He yelled it twice.
For context, Jada Pinkett Smith has a condition called alopecia, which causes hair loss. Rock almost certainly knew this.
Later in the show, Smith won Best Actor.
One of the first things he said during his tearful acceptance speech was that he felt “overwhelmed” by what God was calling him to do in life right now. He also apologized to the Academy and to his fellow nominees (he apologized to Rock the next day on social media).
I don’t know if Smith is a believer in Christ, but for the intent of this column, it doesn’t matter. Christians, we’ve all been in his shoes.
No, not at the Oscars. But we’ve all been overwhelmed, and we’ve all reacted poorly. I wish I could give Smith a hug and say, “I get it.” Yes, I’ve been there too, though I’ve never punched anyone in anger.
Even good stress (like, say, being a respected, Oscar-nominated actor) can pull us taut. I get to run a Christian magazine for a living — something I’ve wanted to do since I was a college freshman — but it’s often overwhelming. I’m in a new relationship that’s turning out better than I ever could’ve prayed for — but like any relationship, it requires a lot of mental and emotional effort.
Any “extra” stress on top of that, and it’s not a question of if I’ll break, but when — and whether I’ll do it humbly, crying out to God, or in a more destructive way.
Maybe you work at your dream job, but you’re drowning in deadlines. Maybe you’d do anything for your family, but for once you’d like to be alone for the weekend. Maybe you’re wound a little tight.
Then somebody disrespects you or a loved one. Or you overbook yourself again, or you blow past your budget again, or you hit every red light on Lakeland again.
Here’s what you and I have got to remember: That situation, or that mistake you repeated, or that person who hurt you, or even you yourself — none of those is your enemy.
We have a real enemy. And praise be to God, we can already celebrate the devil’s defeat.
So when satan (I don’t give him the dignity of capitalization) says you can’t do anything right; or that you need to get back at so and so; or that you’ll never escape all this stress; remember what Jesus bought for you in His death and resurrection:
• Justification, i.e., blameless standing before God (Romans 4:25)
• Peace with God (Romans 5:1)
• Hope, even in the midst of trials, that does not disappoint (Romans 5:1-5)
• Salvation (Romans 5:10)
• Reconciliation with God (Romans 5:11)
• Newness of life (Romans 6:4)
• Prayers of Jesus for you (Romans 8:34)
Those are just some of the promises I found in the book of Romans. The New Testament is full of them.
In Smith’s acceptance speech, he mentioned something fellow actor Denzel Washington had told him a few moments earlier: “At your highest moment, that’s when the devil comes for you.”
Absolutely. The devil visits us at our highest moments … and at our lowest ones … and many of those in between. But when he does? Just remind him Whose you are.
“If God is for us, who can be against us? … Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? … I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:31-39