Gwyneth Paltrow, one of today's more polarizing celebrities, recently infuriated mothers the world over with her comments about how hard it is to be a working mom in Hollywood. It wasn't her claim that being a working mom was hard that set off the Paltrow haters. It was her assertion that it was harder for her to be a working mom (a multi-millionaire with a full staff of caretakers, chauffeurs, housekeepers, money managers, make-up artists, etc., etc., etc., who chooses to only work once a year) than it is for your average mom working 9-5 at a "regular" job. That's when the Twitter-sphere and other social media went crazy, as all the "regular" working moms began to tell her just what they think of her claim.
So what exactly did she say?
"It's much harder for me," she said. “I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening … When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day, and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.”
One mom with a "regular" job was even prompted to write an open letter to Paltrow which was published in the NY POST. Her comments, in part, read:
“Thank God I don’t make millions filming one movie per year” is what I say to myself pretty much every morning as I wait on a windy Metro-North platform, about to begin my 45-minute commute into the city. Whenever things get rough, all I have to do is keep reminding myself of that fact. It is my mantra.
The author, Mackenzie Dawson, followed up on Friday, stating she has "no ill will" towards Paltrow:
I just wish Gwyneth weren't quite so tone-deaf. When you're fortunate — and I count myself in this, as someone who has a loving husband and family, good health, no debt, a job I love, and a supportive network of relatives and friends — you have an extra responsibility to be empathetic and grateful and, in general, not oblivious.
So there's the real sticking point: The fact that one as privileged as Ms. Paltrow would be so "oblivious" and so lacking in empathy with the challenges and concerns of others.
Jesus Himself set the ultimate example of empathy when He--One so eternally and infinitely privileged--condescended to become human to fully experience our pain, our shame, our deepest needs, then submitted Himself to death on the cross to make life--not to mention eternity--better for us, even at His own expense.
Jesus was anything but "tone deaf" to our cries for help or "oblivious" to our need when He submitted Himself to the horrors of His Passion. It was this very empathy, this approachability and identifiability that made Jesus so appealing to the humble in heart and so repulsive to the proud.
It turns out He was even more polarizing than Ms. Paltrow.
"He gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross" (Philippians 2:7-8, NLT).