Earlier tonight I watched a young couple announce their divorce in front of millions of viewers. Regardless of the circumstances or who is to blame, my heart breaks for them. When I try to imagine how horrific life must be for them right now, I cannot. Not only do they have to navigate through the painful process of divorce, they must do so in front of the entire nation. Every decision and every action is publicly scrutinized and criticized, and blogs are jumping with those quick to point fingers at the couple's mistakes and gleefully bask in the destruction of a family.
A few weeks ago, Jon Acuff over at Stuff Christians Like wrote a post about the Gosselins. He pointed out that when we talk about people getting what they deserve, we forget that we haven't, and he went on to say that imagining that we're immune from the same pitfalls is extremely dangerous. The truth is that we would long for grace if we were in their shoes. We would seek understanding, mercy, and love in the middle of a world turned upside down. It's entirely too easy for us to forget that Jon & Kate are real people with real problems. Their show isn't a sitcom scripted by writers. They aren't characters acting out a storyline. They are real people whose world is falling apart while we watch from our couches and read about it in line at the grocery store.
Yes, they have made mistakes, but then again, who hasn't? Without doubt, they have made poor decisions, but I don't know anyone who always makes the right choice. They certainly could have done a lot of things better, but that doesn't give us permission to crucify them in our conversations and jokes.
They don't need our snarky comments or clever barbs. They need grace.
It's a sad day when someone's tragedy becomes fodder for entertainment and late night talk show material. When we stop viewing them as people and only see them as a punchline, we have stopped seeing them with the eyes of Christ, and that's the real tragedy.