After the Oscars were over, it seemed that the buzz was about Jennifer Lawrence tripping as she walked up the steps to receive her award for best supporting actress. It wasn’t too surprising… trying to navigate up the steps in that tight, mermaid-style dress could have been one of the obstacles on the American Ninja Warrior show.

The group that was watching the Oscars at my house seemed split in their reaction–some laughed, some felt compassion.

Jennifer Lawrence

Honestly, I did both. I first laughed. Then, I felt sorry for her…I know what it’s like to fall/fail/bomb on stage. This started a discussion over why some immediately laugh and why some immediately go compassion. I’m not sure we arrived at an answer, but it made me think of my journey.

Growing up, I was lousy at telling jokes. But, I love to laugh. I love teaching with humor—my thought is that tough truth always goes down a lot easier when the congregation’s mouths are open. So, about twenty years ago, I took a stand-up comedy class hoping to improve my skills. The first four weeks we developed and practiced a routine, and then we had to perform a fifteen-minute set at the Improv—a local comedy club full of real, live people who weren’t our classmates.

I must admit, on the night of the big show…I completely bombed! Tripping up the stairs in front of a billion people seems minor in comparison.

People started booing after my first few jokes. They totally rejected me. So, I stopped and started and stumbled through my whole routine—everything I had so carefully crafted—and I still had ten minutes to go. Even people closest to me said things like, “Yeah, Doug, that was rough.” It was one of the most humiliating times of my life.

The only good to come out of the experience… it made me more compassionate. If you want to try anything risky in your life, invite me along—I’ll be there to cheer you on! (And I promise not to boo!) I have a huge heart for anyone who does anything on stage in front of other people. I know how hard it can be. You can bet I won’t reject you.

There’s something that happens whenever you take that which has been rejected and broken in you and offer it up to others in the form of compassion and understanding. This is the type of love that can change and help other people and open their hearts to the ways of Jesus.

Vulnerability is at its all time high in a person’s life when they fail. Those of us who follow the ways and teachings of Jesus understand that Jesus is in the business of redeeming rejection for His glory. He can make all things new! Our own rejection can empower us to be more compassionate to the sources rejection. We can (slowly) begin to see them through God’s eyes and rejection loses its power over us and (in addition) we can help others find hope in the midst of their rejection.

It’s nice to know that there’s a “silver-lining” waiting to be used after we get over our rejection.

Question: Did you laugh or feel sorry when you saw her trip? Share your vote here.

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