I am exhausted. Sweat is dripping down my face. I put on 7lbs of fat during my U.S. trip and I am determined to get back in shape now that I have returned to Israel. I am on the third day of Shaun T’s T-25 and I just finished the most miserable workout since New Year’s Day 1980, when my wrestling coach made us come in and practice after a night of little sleep and foolish behavior.
While I was working out, I noticed one of the guys on the workout video had a puddle of sweat building up beneath him. I looked down and was so impressed that I had my own little puddle of sweat (okay, don’t get grossed out—there is an important point!) beneath me.
I am going to take a picture of this and post it on Facebook to show people how hard I am working out. Not a sinful thought, but certainly a self-absorbed, vain one. It was the thought that came next that frightened me. Why don’t I sprinkle some more water on top of it to make it look more impressive?
I dismissed the thought as soon as it formulated in my mind and I immediately thought of poor Brian Williams—and I say poor not to mock him, but with genuine compassion. I have always liked Mr. Williams. In interviews he is very funny and likeable. But his entire career may come to a crashing halt in the next few days, all because he sprinkled a little bit of water on an already impressive story.
If you don’t know it, Mr. Williams last week referred to being on a chopper in Iraq over 10 years ago and being shot and hit—the chopper, not him. He talked about making an emergency landing. On Letterman several years ago he spoke in detail about being hit by a RPG, referring to the same incident.
He must have forgotten he was not alone on his flight—which was an hour behind the chopper that was actually hit. Soldiers who were in both the chopper that was struck and the one Williams was riding called him out.
Politicians do this all the time. Hillary Clinton got caught in a biggy when she claim that she landed in Bosnia under sniper fire…
“I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.” —Hillary Clinton, speech at George Washington University, March 17, 2008.
According to those with her on the trip, including the comedian Sinbad, she got off the plane and hugged a young girl… there’s a photo…
And look at her now—despite fabricating a story that makes her look brave, even heroic, she is poised to be the next President! But the anchor of a Network News Broadcast is held to a higher standard. Once you lie, your credibility is gone. Few of us, sadly, care about the credibility of politicians as long as they have the same ideology.
Williams could have come out today, repented and begged forgiveness for making an egocentric error. Americans are forgiving. Would have been the right move. Instead, he claims he misremembered. (That word should be taken out of the English dictionary!)
I have never been shot at—correction, I had to run for cover several times this summer from Hamas rockets—but not in a chopper, by an RPG. Still, I am pretty sure that I could not mistake not getting shot for getting shot. Benghazi survivor and former Army Ranger Kris Paranto agrees… and he has been under fire!
“I can tell you from firsthand experience that you do not misremember being shot at. This lie and continual lying to cover up the first lie says a lot about Mr. Williams’ character, or lack thereof. This is a serious offense.”
The cover-up is always worse than the act! Remember Watergate? Lewinski?
I can’t tell you what Mr. Williams fate will be at NBC, his predecessor, Tom Brokaw is calling for his ouster, but I can tell you that people will never hold him in as high esteem as they once did. Dan Rather’s distinguished career was destroyed because he ran with a false story about George W. Bush. The question for us is, what should we learn from this?
While I am pretty sure I could have gotten away with, shall we call it, Sweat-Gate, there is nothing to be gained by lying or even exaggerating to impress others. While most of us have never lied about getting shot at, it is a good day to take a deep look inside and ask, where have I lied or exaggerated? Better to deal with it privately, than to be exposed publicly.
This is something those of us in ministry struggle with constantly. Numbers impress. But it is the blessing and favor of God that we must seek.
The servant of Elisha gave into temptation and lied to Naaman and to Elisha. He sought money; he got leprosy (2 Kings 5). Proverbs tells us, “A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will perish.” (Prov. 19:9)
Let me clear, I am sure I have been guilty of this. The last thing I want to do is judge Brian Williams with a hypocritical, self-righteous attitude. No! I want to learn from him. What about you?