I will admit that I can count how many times I have tuned into the Oprah Winfrey Show on two hands. I’m not a real fan of talk shows in general but that said I AM a history buff and I’m especially a fan of pop culture so I decided to tune into the finale more for curiosity sake than anything else. I am well aware that Oprah is probably one of the ten most influential women in the world. Her talk show of twenty-five years has been watched by billions of people (mostly women) and I do not negate in the least her zealous pursuit in raising awareness to social issues such as child abuse, racial discrimination, poverty and family violence. One of the wealthiest women on the planet, Oprah has contributed millions to charity organizations. She believes in “paying it forward”, admitting that it is the “grace of God” that has brought her so far in life.
That said, yesterday as she spoke softly, reminiscing about her 25 years on television, to an audience perhaps in the millions, she had an opportunity to say “farewell” in a way that would have left her mark for eternity and she blew it. Yes, she said she had a faith, yes, she said the name “Jesus” but rather than share the gospel Truth with her listeners, she instead gave a weak, wishy-washy, watered down, “all roads lead to heaven” discourse choosing not to offend rather than choosing to save. She spoke of everyone having a “calling”, not a God-calling, just a “calling”. She spoke of everyone having a “light” within them, a “light” that could change the world if they would just let it “shine”. She said the god she prayed to was the same god that everyone prayed to. (Alluding to the fact that no matter what name we put to God He is one in the same.) That is false teaching.
Afterwards, Lisa Laflamme on CTV commented that Oprah sounded almost “evangelical” in her farewell message. By definition that would mean: Evangelical relating to, or being a Christian believing in the sole authority and inerrancy of the Bible, in salvation only through regeneration, and in a spiritually transformed personal life; seeking to convert people, especially to Christianity. Sorry, Lisa, but Oprah may have sounded evangelical but that’s as far as it went. Another news reporter last night said that it was the “Gospel according to Oprah”. Yep, that’s what it was, unfortunately it was a misleading and errant gospel.
When I turned off the T.V. and pondered Oprah’s farewell message I couldn’t help but ask myself what I would have done if I had been given the same opportunity as her. If I knew that was my final chance to say parting words to millions of loyal fans and followers, what words would I have chosen? It haunts me now. So many times I’ve blown it, refusing to share my faith with others because I didn’t have the courage or boldness to do so, or worse, because I didn’t want to offend. If nothing else, Oprah’s final farewell has given me pause to think about my parting words. I don’t want to miss the mark when I say “Good bye” some day.
Matthew 12:36-37 – “I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”