The O’Reilly Factor and FoxNews. Over the last two decades, these two entities became household names for literally millions of Americans. Holding the top spot in the prime time cable ratings is something most TV personalities would aspire for and, if achieved, would no doubt boast of. Bill O’Reilly was no exception. The fact is, Bill was never shy to remind his viewers of his unparalleled success.
Over the years I have watched my share of the O’Reilly Factor. And while I have agreed more often than not with many of the positions Bill would take, I found myself regularly perturbed with the man. There is something about watching someone spout off braggadociously, night after night, that can turn a person from a follower to a critic.
More than once during the last decade I’ve thought of Proverbs 16:18 when listening to O’Reilly pontificate about his infallible views on nearly any subject under the sun. That verse asserts:
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
It’s likely that we all struggle with that five letter word: Pride. And perhaps the more successful one becomes, and the more he or she is in the public eye, the greater the temptation is to think highly of oneself.
I’ve often heard the expression “a self-made man” used of those who achieve some level of success. But I’ve always been deeply troubled by such a view. If one affirms God and His sovereign role in our world and lives, then I would suggest it is pride-gone-wild to assert one is a self-made anything. True, we play a part in our future, with every choice we make. But I believe it is dangerously wrong to buy into the notion that we are the reason for our success.
The truth is there is a greater Power at work. I liken it to a farmer who sows his fields. Sure, he planted the seed, but God gives the rains, sun and the ultimate increase. And even further, God gives the farmer the resources, health and strength to even plant the seed.
Likewise, in our lives, we can plant seeds of success by the choices we make. But it is ultimately God who honors those choices. Only God can bless us with successes beyond our wildest dreams. But when those dreams come to fruition, here are some questions that, depending on our answer, will determine whether pride has entered into our lives.
What do we think? How do we act? What do we say to others? Whom do we thank? Is it ourselves or God?
Deuteronomy 8:18 answers the last question with this affirmation:
“Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful…”
So as I think about Bill O’Reilly’s fall from the pinnacle of success to the depths of shame, I am saddened to see such a loss. Whether Bill is guilty or not of the charges leveled against him is beyond the scope of this article. But Bill’s arrogance and pompous attitude loom large for anyone willing to see them. And sadly, I believe they drove the reason for his fall.
More important than Bill’s fall though, is this. His failures force me to look in the mirror and test my motives, my attitudes, and my beliefs.
Is there Pride in my life? Do I possess a haughty spirit? If so, then there is a fall and destruction in my future.
What about you? Have you considered these questions? If not, I would challenge you to do that same.
At the end of the day, all that is good in our lives and all that we might accomplish or accumulate is only by God’s abundant blessings. Any explanation beyond that should cause us to seriously consider Proverbs 16:18… before it’s too late.
One final thought. As Bill O’Reilly falls, Tucker Carlson rises, being offered Bill’s former prime-time slot at 8pm. It’s noteworthy to mention that Tucker Carlson is moving from his short stint at 9pm, after replacing Megyn Kelly, to the 8pm hour, the top slot in prime-time. Will Tucker though, learn from Bill O’Reilly’s mistakes and resist the temptation to credit himself for his sudden success? Time will tell. And let’s hope humility reigns.