Should Christians Flaunt Their Faults On National TV?

With the airing of reality show, Grown Up and Gospel, Juliet Fletcher explores the pros and cons of confessing faults publicly

Gospel music has always been associated with messages of faith, hope and redemption, but in recent times, there has been a series of reality shows that have left many wondering whether some gospel artists, preachers and teachers have forgotten the essence of gospel music. These shows and biopics showcase the lives of gospel stars and their children — including their faults and scandals. In this article, we ask the question: Is flaunting your faults as a Christian the right thing to do?

IS IT GROWN UP OR INFANTILE VIEWING?

One such reality show is Grown Up and Gospel, produced by Carlos King and broadcast in the US, which features six children of famous parents in the gospel music and church world. According to Julie Hines of Detroit Free Press, the show follows six childhood friends as they navigate the challenges of their personal lives and careers, while dealing with insecurities, challenges and past mistakes. In the trailers, the participants appear to be unsure of their faith and how to navigate the world while remaining true to their beliefs.

The question that arises is whether it is appropriate to watch the lives of Christians — who are essentially still grappling with their faith — unfold on national television. Is it right to make their mistakes and shortcomings public? The concern is that viewers may find it difficult to differentiate between good and evil, right and wrong, decent and indecent, particularly when it comes to people they hold in high regard, such as their church brethren.

CHURCH – THE SAFE SPACE TO CONFESS?

While some may argue that these shows provide an opportunity for the participants to share their stories and connect with others, the question remains: Is it appropriate for Christians to flaunt their faults? The Christian faith is based on forgiveness and redemption, but that does not mean that Christians should showcase their mistakes and sins for all the world to see. Rather, Christians are called to live exemplary lives that bring glory to God, not themselves.

Moreover, these shows raise questions about the impact they have on the participants’ lives. Are they being exploited for entertainment purposes and TV ratings? Do they understand the implications of having their lives exposed to the world? Is there any psychological support or back-up if required? Some may argue that the participants are adults who can make their own decisions, but the issue remains they are still Christians who are meant to live a life that brings honour to God.

The Bible encourages Christians to confess their faults to one another (James 5:16), but this doesn’t mean they should broadcast their mistakes on national television! Confession should be done in a safe and supportive environment, such as a church congregation. 

A church community is a place where Christians can be vulnerable and share their struggles without fear of judgment or condemnation. In such a community, members can receive support and encouragement as they seek to overcome their faults and become better people. Recently, out of guilt, I stood up and made a confession about my lack of ability to be early for church. Most times I miss the praise and worship segment, but on this occasion I had arrived on time because I’d brought a guest with me. In the joy of the worship I thought, ‘Why do I miss this glorious part of the service each week? It’s so good!’

Unexpectedly, Pastor asked me to introduce my guest. Out of guilt I confessed my fault. Well, I’ve been attending that church for decades, and fortunately they treated me with some sensitivity and humour, but mainly with encouragement and respect for my open honesty.  Although my personal example might rightly be viewed as minor, it’s the principle of confessing in an environment where my fault was received in the humility of my stance.

CAVEATS TO CONFESSION

However, the confessions that take place on reality shows and biopics are not done in a safe and supportive environment. Instead, they are made in front of a camera crew and broadcast to millions of people — many of whom do not share the same values or beliefs. This raises questions about the intention behind such confessions. Are they genuine attempts to seek forgiveness and redemption, or are they merely a ploy to gain sympathy and attention? Should we be using misbehaviour and indiscretions as a form of entertainment to enjoy? 

Another concern is the impact these shows have on viewers. The Gospel is supposed to be a message of hope and redemption but TV shows that highlight the faults and scandals of Christians may lead viewers to believe that the Christian faith is hypocritical and ineffective. Instead of inspiring hope and faith, these shows may cause people to lose trust in the Church and its message.

I don’t think all our US brothers and sisters necessarily agree with these programmes — and I certainly wouldn’t want it to be a practice over here — but I can appreciate the benefits of reality shows when they are constructive.

In conclusion, while confession is a crucial part of the Christian faith, flaunting one’s faults for the world to see is not the right approach. Christians are called to live exemplary lives that bring glory to God, not themselves. Confession should be done in a safe and supportive environment, such as within a church community, and not on national television for everyone’s entertainment.

Written by: Juliet Fletcher

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