What We Can Learn from the Miss Universe Pageant

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What Happened

Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo had been dreaming of this moment since she was a little girl. Representing the country of Columbia in the Miss Universe Pageant, she was proclaimed the winner as millions watched. A beautiful diamond-encrusted crown was placed on her head.

Whoops! Moments later, host Steve Harvey announced that he had made a mistake: Actually, Miss Philippines—Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach—won the pageant, not Ariadna. Harvey had read the wrong name.

It was a big mistake—maybe one of the biggest in television history. Harvey apologized and took full responsibility during the telecast. Then he apologized again the following day on Twitter. “I’d like to apologize wholeheartedly to Miss Colombia & Miss Philippines for my huge mistake,” he wrote. “I feel terrible.”

However, Ariadna seemed to take it in stride. “Everything happens for a reason,” she said shortly after the pageant. A few days later, in an Instagram post, she again thanked everyone for their support and stressed that the flub was used as a catalyst for good. “My destiny was this,” she wrote. “I was able to bring happiness to my country after becoming Miss Universe for only a couple of minutes…Today because of that COLOMBIA and the LATIN COMMUNITY are being talked about in every corner of the world.”

Pia—the real Miss Universe—also followed up her win with her own words of encouragement. “To Ariadna, you are an amazing woman, and we are now bonded together forever by a unique experience,” she wrote on Instagram. “In the last 3 weeks we were together, I saw how strong and beautiful you are inside and out. You represented your country with honor and I know how proud everyone must be of you. Fate has a plan for you, and I’m excited to see what’s ahead.”

Meanwhile, Steve Harvey—a comedian by trade—is doing what he can to get past the mistake himself, using a bit of humor. On Christmas Day, Harvey sent a message out to his 3.2 million followers: “Merry Easter, y’all!” he wrote.

Talk About It
Ariadna and Pia showed grace in a difficult situation. Have you ever had to do the same? When? Do you believe sportsmanship—to be gracious in victory and defeat—is important? When has your sense of sportsmanship been challenged? Have you ever been a bad sport?

Following the flub, Ariadna talked about it happening for a reason. It’s a statement of faith, in a way, and while God doesn’t necessarily cause all the difficult moments in our lives, He can work through them. Do you believe there’s a reason for those bad, uncomfortable times? Have you seen God work during difficult moments? When? How did it look?

We all make mistakes, though maybe none of us will make a mistake that’s televised. However, when you look at how we should handle mistakes, Harvey sets a pretty good example: He apologized. He owned up to his own responsibility, and then he showed that he had a sense of humor about it afterward. Have you ever made a major flub? How did you handle it? When were you able to joke about it?

What the Bible Says
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18).

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain” (Phil. 2:14-16).

Paul Asay has written for Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. He writes about culture for Plugged In and has published several books, including his newest, Burning Bush 2.0 (Abingdon), available now. He lives in Colorado Springs. Check out his entertainment blog at Patheos.com/Blogs/WatchingGod or follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

About The Author

Paul Asay has written for Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. He writes about culture for Plugged In and has published several books, including his newest, Burning Bush 2.0 (Abingdon), available now. He lives in Colorado Springs. Check out his entertainment blog at Patheos.com/Blogs/WatchingGod or follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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