The impact of the death of Michael Jackson was felt around the world. People have reacted with shock, tears and dancing in the streets. While allusions to the dark side of Michael's life were put on the back burner during the time of mourning, the tabloids are now full of speculation and allegations that range from drug addiction to murder. This has also been the case with Steve McNair, former NFL MVP. Although shot by his mistress while he lay asleep on the couch, the quarterback has been praised as a hero and family man.
Though we like to remember the accomplishments of a person's public life, it is often the drama of their private lives, the exploits of the "Other Man" in the mirror, that brings us down and can ultimately kill us. The "Other Man" in the mirror is the version of ourselves no one wants to talk about. He is bent on self-destruction and is determined to discredit the man that the public loves.
I will venture to say that while the public Michael was entertaining us, the "Other Man" in the mirror was torturing him.
We thought he was so beautiful, but the "Other Man" convinced him he was ugly. Michael gave us so much joy, but the "Other Man" beat him up inside everyday.
Though he generated enough revenue to support a small country, the "Other Man" tried to bankrupt him. While we watched Michael dance, sing and push creativity past its limits, I wonder if it was the false promises and threats of the "Other Man" that drove him into the ground. The "Other Man" isolated Michael from the people who really loved and wanted to save him. He surrounded Michael with those who catered to the desires of his flaws and ultimately killed him.
I doubt that all of the years of hard work, dancing and performing ever gave Michael what he was really looking for.
I have a feeling that we, the public, got more out of Michael Jackson's life than he did.
Some people would say that Michael's fame and riches are what ruined him. But in reality, money doesn't ruin people; it just gives them the option of becoming more of who they really are. Michael's fame and power simply gave the "Other Man" access to the resources to supply his pain with whatever it begged for.
We all have our own version of the "Other Man" in the mirror and he has the same agenda as Michael's. He seeks to self justify, kill and destroy you. When you wish to do good, he talks you out of it. When someone tries to help you, he accuses them of being your enemy.
His handiwork in our lives is evident.
Fast forward your secret behaviors and if it destroys a part of your entire life; chances are it's him.
Fast forward your relationships and see where you end up.
Your funeral is coming and let me tell you, the "Other Man" is planning it. Your friends and family will speak well of you, but unless you deal with him now and die on your terms, the "Other Man" will be claiming "mission accomplished."
If you don't deal with him now, you may be his next victim.
Miles McPherson is senior pastor of the Rock Church in San Diego and former NFL defensive back for the San Diego Chargers.
Published, August 2009