Last week, Jennifer Aniston and her husband, Justin Theroux, announced they were getting a divorce. The internet went wild with speculation as tabloids, bloggers and mainstream news organizations reported the story like it was a twist in a soap opera. The mighty starlet had fallen again.
Nobody batted an eye at this airing of personal details -- she deserves it, right? Her career has thrived off of headlines like these. She went into the entertainment business seeking attention and that's exactly what she's getting.
Now we're all entitled to inside information about her failed relationships, fertility issues, sexual dysfunctions and cosmetic surgeries, to name a few intimate areas that have been plastered on magazine covers at the grocery store. The obsession with her reminds me of the fascination many of my college classmates had with a sorority girl who I will call Katie.
Katie's looks primarily made her a target of interest. She was gorgeous, with or without make-up, regardless of whether she was sober or drunk. All of the guys wanted her, and according to the rumor mill, plenty of them got her.
Jesus said, in effect, 'If you do judge, you will be judged in exactly the same way.' Who would dare stand before God and say, 'My God, judge me as I have judged others'?"
I don't remember anyone feeling especially sorry for her. The general attitude was that she had earned her reputation and now she was having to live with it. Like Jennifer, she wasn't a person anymore -- she was a spectacle.
Jennifers and Katies are everywhere. They might be our coworker who obviously has a drinking problem, our brother-in-law who's cheating on his wife, that uncle who has offended yet another family member, or the irritating Facebook "friend" who's notorious for bragging about her life. The one thing all of these people have in common is that they're failing at life in some way, and we can't help but talk about it or at least listen to others when they do.
In the devotional “My Utmost for His Highest,” Oswald Chambers writes, "Jesus said, 'Judge not, that you be not judged." (Matthew 7:1) He went on to say, in effect, 'If you do judge, you will be judged in exactly the same way.' Who would dare stand before God and say, 'My God, judge me as I have judged others'?"
If we really believed Jesus when he said that our criticisms and judgments will one day come back to haunt us, one thing is for sure: The broken lives of others -- celebrities or not -- would be far less interesting to us.