There are so many inconsistencies in the world today. It appears that what is fair for one group is not fair to another group. One standard must be lived out by one group while that same standard does not apply to another group. Double standards can be confusing and annoying.
My question, ‘Why is it that…” was born out of a situation that I have watched play out over social media. Videos recently surfaced of late night host Jimmy Kimmel in blackface imitating retired NBA player Karl Malone. Kimmel, needless to say, is under fire for this behavior and has issued an apology for his imitation: “I did a recurring impression of the NBA player Karl Malone. In the late 90’s, I continued impersonating Malone on tv. We hired makeup artists to make me look as much like Karl Malone as possible.” Kimmel further explained, “I never considered that this might be seen as anything other than an imitation of a fellow human being, one that had no more to do with Karl’s skin color than it did his bulging muscles and bald head. I’ve done dozens of impressions of famous people…looking back, many of these sketches are embarrassing, and it is frustrating that these thoughtless moments have become a weapon used by some to diminish my criticisms of social and other injustices.” Kimmel concludes, “Thank you for giving me an opportunity to explain and to those I’ve disappointed, I am sorry.”
Of course, it is politically correct now to apologize when a celebrity makes a “faux pas” such as this. I cannot judge the content of Kimmel’s heart, but I will venture to say that he may be sincere. I do not watch his show but I have seen clips of it on the internet, and he seems as gracious to his black guests as he does the white ones (in the few clips that I have seen), so he may really mean what he says. I will take him at his word because sometimes a person’s ignorance of certain things is actually sincere.
On the other hand, back in May 2018, Roseanne Barr, comedienne and actress, former star of the “Roseanne” show, tweeted a comment that many saw as racist. Her tweet called Valerie Jarrett, a black woman who served as a senior advisor to Barack Obama, the child of “the Muslim brotherhood and the planet of the apes”. After being called out over the tweet, Ms. Barr issued this apology: “I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans.” She admitted that her remarks were in “bad taste” but defended herself by saying that she meant it as a “joke”. On May 29, 2018, Ms. Barr posted one final tweet: “I apologize. I am now leaving Twitter.”
Since that time, Ms. Barr has been interviewed on several different outlets explaining her side of the story. Once again, I cannot judge the content of Ms. Barr’s heart, but I will venture to say that she may be sincere. She did subject herself to several interviews where she was probably asked some pretty direct questions about the tweet and she she did not hide from it. She also, in the weeks following, gave up her show and her interest in the show so that the cast and crew could continue working, since the network was about to cancel the show.
Back to my original question: “Why is it that…?” Why is it that Jimmy Kimmel will be forgiven by the masses, will continue to host his show, and will continue to work in Hollywood, hosting awards shows, doing commercials and whatever else he does, when Roseanne Barr has basically been banished into relative obscurity for doing something akin to what Kimmel did? Why is that we choose to forgive some and not others?
Did we not forgive Ms. Barr because she is a woman and Jimmy Kimmel is man? Did we not forgive Ms. Barr because she is less talented than Kimmel? Did we not forgive Ms. Barr because she was less deserving? I will venture to say that none of these suggestions is true. So why?
I am so glad my Father in heaven does not pass out forgiveness the way we do: choosing to forgive one for his or her sins, but withholding it from others. I am glad that, when I come to my Father in sincere repentance for sins, He forgives me freely. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Hebrews 10:17 says, “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” God has promised us that if we confess to Him, or in common vernacular, if we apologize, He will hear us and forgive us. Once He forgives us, He does not bring that up to us anymore.
So you have never confessed your sins to the Father? Take this time to do so. You think you’ve messed up so badly that He cannot forgive? Nothing you can do is that bad. God is waiting to hear from you. Your apology, or confession, is good enough for Him.