Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:13)
Eighty-plus years is a long time. It gives us plenty of time to make mistakes, make transitions and even remake ourselves. I was reading the Washington Post the other day and learned that Howard Stern is embarrassed by his previous life. He had a wildly popular, long-running radio and television show where he would degrade people. He would ask women to strip on his show, call people horrible names, and do outrageous acts wherever he went. The more popular he became, the more rude and outlandish he acted. Stern admits, “I tried to watch some of my old Letterman [appearances], Stern said on a recent morning during an interview at his SiriusXM radio studio. “I couldn’t get through two minutes of it. It’s just not me. I don’t know who that guy is.”
I feel sad for Howard Stern. Sure he remains a huge celebrity, with tens of millions of dollars, but I still wouldn’t want to be in his shoes. It is bad enough that he is embarrassed by his previous actions, but he must live with the memories every day on the internet, television, and in the minds of most of the world’s people. Yet, this horrific reality is also its own blessing. Because he cannot deny his previous life, he cannot hide, but must face the world with honesty and humble reflection.
Stern has written a book that I hope will not just reflect on his vulgar antics, but will provide the opportunity to apologize and share why his previous life decisions were hurtful, not only to others, but also himself. If Howard Stern is able to pull life transformation off with integrity, he may find himself with even more fame, only this time with integrity. It is worth the effort.
I would venture to guess that all of us have done things in our lives that we would give anything to take back. Sadly, do-overs are not reality. For perhaps the first time in his life, decent people can say, “Act like Howard Stern.” If there is something about your past that is haunting you, take the time to face it. Make your mends, your apology, or your prayer. The goal is to receive forgiveness, so you can live the rest of your life beyond the burden of previous mistakes or sins. Please remember, God is grace-filled, and wants to forgive and heal each one of us, even Howard Stern!