Image Is Everything?

To say that the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics was spectacular is really an understatement. Someone even commented that it is an extravaganza that has never happened in Olympics history and, probably, will never happen again. However, word got around that some of the dazzling fireworks the world saw at the opening ceremony were actually digitally enhanced, prerecorded images. The organizers admitted that they actually recreated “the hazy effects of Beijing’s smog at night, and inserted a slight camera shake effect to simulate the idea that it was filmed from a helicopter.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/) They claimed it was technically impossible and dangerous to film it live. Now, we learn that Lim Miaoke, the cute 9-year-old girl who sang the “Ode to the Motherland” while soaring on wires over the Bird’s Nest Stadium, just lip-synched the song. It appears that supposedly Yang Peiyi, a 7-year-old singer, would do the part. But, because of her chubby looks and crooked teeth, the organizers decided to record Yang’s voice and then have Lim provide the face. The organizers justified the switch saying it was “to achieve the most theatrical effect.” (Yahoo! Sports) But the world media could not take it anymore. Headlines all over the world labeled it “the Olympic karaoke,” “China’s wrong child policy” and “Hoax! Made in China.”

The motives of the organizers may have been really sincere. But their methodology raised a lot of eyebrows. It could spoil that which is otherwise an excellent and expensive effort. That’s the danger when we try to impress people at all cost. We might end up pursuing an image that does not reflect us at all. Image is not everything. It is just that… an image. Yet, before we point an accusing finger to the Olympic organizers, maybe we ought to reflect whether we have also done some things just to impress people. It is always a temptation to put up a front, not just in reel but also in real life. According to Galatians 1:10, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10, NIV) Reputation is what people say about us. Character is who we really are.

Brethren, integrity, not image, is everything.

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