KEEP THE FAITH
Weary Travelers in a ‘Big Brother’ World
By Belinda Elliott
CBN.com Daily Life Producer
CBN.com I'm very disappointed. Danielle was my favorite person of all those who lived in the house. It was painful to watch her be betrayed by a “friend.” It looks like the bad guys are going to win yet again.
What am I talking about you may ask? Big Brother All Stars.
I know there are better ways I could be spending my free time, but reality TV enthralls me. True, it may be mindless entertainment, but I’m addicted. I find the “people watching” simply too interesting to pass up, especially with programs like Big Brother where the participants live together as one big family and vote each other off the show.
It is interesting, although somewhat disturbing, to watch the participants manipulate each other to get ahead. Leading up to the betrayal of Danielle this week, one contestant managed to seduce one of the lady participants into joining with him to play against others in the house. To her their “showmance” seems sincere, but to him she is merely a pawn in the game that he is using to clear out his opponents for him. When that goal is accomplished, he plans to send her packing.
Others have adopted a similar strategy. There is no romance involved, but they befriend fellow contestants and vow to be on their side when it is to their advantage. Later, when the arranged partnership is no longer beneficial to them, they break their word and stab them in the back.
To those of us who follow such reality shows, this strategy is not new. Deception seems to be the accepted standard on these reality TV programs.
If one were to try to play the game honestly, it would surely mean their defeat. That is exactly what happened to Danielle. One of the final six residents left in the house, she has been one of the participants who has stayed true to her word throughout the show. Unfortunately, the people she pledged her loyalty to did not remain loyal to her. Rather than protecting her and keeping her in the game as they promised, they voted her out.
In an online show where producers provide commentary on each episode, one host made the comment that you simply cannot be honest in the Big Brother house and stay in the game for long. Honesty, is a good quality for people to have, she said, but not in this game. Only dishonesty will allow you to get ahead in this competition.
Too often it seems this is true in our society as well. It is not only on television that we see deception being rewarded. How many times have we seen examples of dishonest people who seem to prosper? The cut-throat businessmen are the ones who seem to make the most money. The people who lie, cheat, or manipulate their way to the top are praised and considered successful. Meanwhile, the people who “play by the rules” are left behind in their dust. This has always bothered me.
I am not alone. Centuries ago, the prophet Jeremiah was also bothered by it. He took his questions straight to God. “You are always righteous, O Lord, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?” (Jeremiah 12:1).
We find the same line of questioning in the Psalms. In Psalm 73, the author laments that his efforts to live righteously have been of no use. “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence,” he cries.
I’ve felt like that. I’ve gotten tired of being the one who is always expected to “do the right thing” when the people around me do not. Why should I bother living by God’s principles, when people who live by the world’s standards seem to have more fun and enjoy more success? Many times I see no negative consequences for their actions. If that’s the case, why should I continue to live by a higher standard?
Every time I ask God that question, He reminds me that the world we see isn’t our true home. Yes, other people may have made a comfortable home for themselves here, and it seems like they have achieved all the success that the world has to offer. But as Christians, our eternal home and rewards are still to come. We are merely travelers passing through this ‘Big Brother’ world.
We are not to be seduced by the world’s idea of success because we know that we are working for a higher cause. God has chosen us to represent Him on earth. That is why we should never stop living as He has called us to. It is the fact that we do continue to “do the right thing” that sets us apart in a culture that has its priorities confused.
When we show our enemies love instead of hate, forgive those who hurt us, refuse to join in gossip, or refuse to lie, people notice. When those people grow tired of what the world has to offer, and discover that they still feel empty in spite of their “success,” we are the ones who can show them where true peace and happiness are found.
As for the feeling that it is unfair that people’s dishonest deeds seem to go unpunished, God’s Word offers us a comforting thought. The psalmist mentioned earlier also struggled to understand why God did nothing to chastise the wicked people of his day, but God soon cleared it up for him.
The psalmist writes, “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin (Psalm 73: 16-18).
The same is true today. God will not let the wicked people of our day go unchallenged. He sees their actions, and He is the One who will ultimately judge them and distribute justice. To me that is good news. The good guys really do win in the end.
So whether it is on reality TV shows like Big Brother, or in our own lives that it seems like the bad guys are victorious, do not lose heart. Though you may grow weary at times, remember Paul’s admonition to the Galatians.
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:7-9).
Good advice, Paul.
Press on, weary travelers, press on!
Comments? Email me
More articles by Belinda on CBN.com
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