“I can’t think of a major story that we have broken that was incorrect. But we have had to correct some things that were false: we have had to retract things.”— Mary Hart – Journalist
Yesterday, ESPN announced they had relayed a story from a satire site reporting that popular NBA star Ja Morant had made a statement that Michael Jordan, who is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, would be ‘just another superstar’ in today’s game. JaMorant never said this. If you’ve ever watched sports news, you know that across all media channels—this untrue statement was repeated over and over again…as an array of experts gave their opinion on Ja and his alleged ‘statement.’ Toward the end of the show we were watching, the ESPN commentator issued a RETRACTION which means to withdraw a statement or accusation as untrue or unjustified. I thought about how the one line statement, We regret it, were wrong, and we take it back, can never compare to the intensity and damage of a 24-hour worldwide raking over the coals.I’m wondering if…over the history of your life…there might have been words, statements, texts, or emails you wish you could retract. In the heat of the moment, perhaps led by your emotions, you said or did something you wish you could recant. You want to take it back…but you can’t unsay what you said, or rescind the contract you signed, unsend the text or email, or have a do-over. You might have apologized…but the damage was already done. Newspapers usually print retractions the next day at the bottom of the page where few if any people see them. So, in the example to the left, the entire town will continue think musician Eric Lyday was on drugs versus on drums. Funny…not funny.
We generally say retractable words when under stress or trial. This happened to Job in his affliction after the loss of his children, his fortune, and his health. Not understanding that the trial was meant to demonstrate his faithfulness in worshiping God; he levied accusations and misunderstood what the Lord was really doing in and through his life. God strongly corrected Job in chapter 41, stating on verse 34b “Everything under the heavens is Mine; therefore, who can have a claim against God?” Then Job waxed sorrowful and apologetic declaring:
2“I know that You can do all things, And that no thought or purpose of Yours can be restrained. 3“[You said to me] ‘Who is this that darkens and obscures counsel [by words] without knowledge?’ Therefore [I now see] I have [rashly] uttered that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4‘Hear, please, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct [and answer] me.’ 5“I had heard of You [only] by the hearing of the ear, But now my [spiritual] eye sees You. 6“Therefore I retract [my words and hate myself] And I repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:2-6 Amplified)
Have you ever levied a false accusation against God? Sometimes we blame God for what Satan is doing. Or we misunderstand the ultimate purpose of our trial. We get angry with God over what other people decide to do or say that negatively affects us. Maybe you’ve been like ESPN? You heard an untrue report about someone, believed it, and repeated it…letting it spread without finding out if it were true. What did you do when you found out you were wrong? Did you apologize? Did you retract what you said? Whether you are the accused or the one who is backtracking… retractions are almost never as powerful as initial words.