"My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment." - James 3:1
People tend to judge those in the spotlight harshly. Often it seems unfair, almost like we forget that they are people as well and that they are entitled to mistakes. This is true about celebrities, famous preachers, politicians, and athletes. I've found myself wondering why we can't give them a break however according to this scripture God also judges them more harshly.
What is a teacher? According to www.yourdictionary.com a teacher is simply "someone who helps others learn new things." In the past when I have read this scripture I have thought of specifically teachers of the Bible, which of course does fit the context of the scripture. However there are many types of teachers. Beyond the obvious (school teachers, professors, teachers in church) there is anyone who has the opportunity to bring new knowledge to other people. When celebrities speak people listen. They don't seem to care whether they have any qualifications in the subject they are speaking about, they only seem to care that they are famous. This puts all celebrities in the place of a teacher whether they mean to be or not. God holds them to a higher standard.
It's unlikely that a celebrity will run across my post here however we are all teachers at some level. It is important to understand that the moment we step into that role we have a greater responsibility and therefore gain a harsher judgment. On this blog I end up getting about 30 views per post. In the grand scheme of the internet that is nothing, however that is potentially 30 people that I am responsible for how I influence them. I need to be aware of that fact, not to discourage me from posting or from teaching but to encourage me to not take that opportunity for granted. To encourage me to make sure that I am keeping myself in the Word and in prayer. To encourage me to make sure that what I post lines up with God's Word.
Who is your audience? Who do you reach? Are you taking it for granted? Maybe, like me, you have around 30 people that you have the opportunity to reach on a regular basis, or maybe you have 30,000, or maybe you just have 3. Regardless of how many you influence you need to understand that you have a responsibility not only for yourself but also for those people.