Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Truth Matters

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey is a runaway best seller chronicling the author’s own struggles with drug addiction. Recommended by Oprah Winfrey, it sold 1.7 million copies last year, second only to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

The trouble is that the autobiography isn’t true. Oprah confronted Frey last week on her show and said she felt "conned" by him. "But more importantly", said Oprah, "I feel that you betrayed millions of readers.”

When first faced with the revelation that there were falsehoods in the book, Oprah defended the inaccuracies. In talking about her change of mind, Oprah said, “I left the impression that the truth is not important.” Especially the truth that corresponds with reality.

Frey admitted lying. When pressed about his lies Frey said, "I think part of what happened with a number of the things in the book, is when you go through an experience like the one I went through you develop different coping mechanisms. I think one of the coping mechanisms I developed was this image of myself that was greater than what I was."

"In order to get through the experience of an addiction, I thought of myself as being tougher than I was, badder than I was. It helped me cope. When I was writing the book, instead of being as introspective as I should have been, I clung to that image."

I think there are several lessons we can learn from this situation:

First, who of us doesn’t at one time or another hold an image of ourselves that isn’t rooted in reality. Perception is usually 9/10 of our reality and James Frey certainly fell into that trap. If we’re ever going to move forward in our spirituality the first step is the old surrender maxim of AA, “There is a God and I’m not Him.”

Then we submit to needing help and not being able to do it on our own. These are truths and they really do matter!

Uncovering and becoming aware of our self-deception is the first step. It doesn’t excuse our lies, though. We call the next steps repentance, or turning 180 degrees from our wrongful ways; and restitution, where we make amends, if needed, to show that we’re serious. Perhaps Frey would donate a sum of his profits to an organization that helps drug addicts deal with their issues. That’s what Zacchaeus did in the book of Luke:

Luke 19:8-10
Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have overcharged people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!" Jesus responded, "Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a son of Abraham. And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost."

A second learning from the Oprah story is how she worked to right the wrongs and show that truth matters. Life has truth and principles; life isn’t what I want to bend it to be.

Lastly, Oprah showed a lot of character with her apology and acceptance that she has a trust with her viewers, and that trust needs to be protected.

Our word shows forth our character; and our character will determine our destiny and legacy. Determine to yield your life to the character development plan of Jesus because truth really does matter, and it thrives in following after Jesus.

Oprah to author: 'You conned us all'


Anonymous bob said...

I think that in our pursuit of God is a pursuit for truth. Sometimes that is painful when done in an introspective way and it requires an uncompromising faith when it becomes to making it one of our lifes purposes ( which it should be for all of us) Not easy ground to walk but well worth the effort.

7:27 PM  

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