What We Can Learn From Paula Deen

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It has been amazing to watch the sudden free fall of the butter queen and Food Network star, Paula Deen. After admitting in a legal deposition that she said a racist word 30 years ago, she has been ceremoniously dropped by her network and shunned by most of the rest of the world. She has since apologized and said that she deeply regrets having ever said that word.

There are SEVERAL moments in my life where I have said things that I regret and wish I could have taken back. In fact, it happened yesterday. I am just thankful that I have never had to answer to any of them in a court of law. Or that my life is deemed important enough to be splashed all over the news. I do think that there are 3 things that we can learn as leaders from this situation:

1. Words have meaning and consequences. Everything that we say matters. Luke 6:45 says,

For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

We may never have to testify in court about our words, but those words have the power to bring joy or pain every single time we use them. It may seem like a harmless moment, but I have no idea what kind of lasting damage that sarcastic remark has made. As leaders, we have to measure every word that we use as helpful or harmful.

2. The world wants to see you fall. It is amazing to watch how quickly a loved public figure can be torn to pieces after a mistake. The Food Network dropped Paula Deen so fast, I doubt that they had even heard the full story yet. Right or wrong, some people are looking for reasons to bring leaders down. In Philippians 2:14-15, Paul writes,

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.

We have to attempt to keep ourselves blameless so that we can be seen as shining lights in this world.

3. I am thankful for a God of 2nd, 3rd, 4th…chances. I know that I am sinner, saved by grace. The Bible says that we have

all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God

Paula Deen may or may not get a 2nd chance to be on the Food Network, but we serve a God that never turns his back on us. I have to remember to always give the same grace that I am given.

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About the author

Chris Surratt is a ministry consultant and coach with over twenty-three years of experience serving the local church. Chris served on the Executive Teams at Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and Seacoast Church in Charleston, South Carolina. He is also the Discipleship and Small Group Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources. Chris’s first book, Small Groups For The Rest Of Us: How to Design Your Small Groups System to Reach the Fringes, was just released by Thomas Nelson.

3 comments on “What We Can Learn From Paula Deen”

  1. Shannon Lewis

    I’ve intentionally distanced myself from reading too much about this story. I appreciate your thoughts on it!

  2. Pingback: Top 5 Posts For June | ChrisSurratt.com

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