Being caught red-handed leaves few doors open to walk through. There’s denial, a door quite creaky after overuse. Then there’s avoidance, a door not always available to some. And of course, there’s acceptance, the door often left closed. Few choose this path, and for obvious reasons. It’s highly unlikely for any normal, functioning human being to go through the pain of glaring at who they are in the mirror and admitting the flaws reflected back at them. These doors are harder to open, I imagine, the higher up the fame ladder you find yourself. The repercussions of transgression are going to be far different for some random small-town nobody than they will be for someone of TMZ-level popularity. Sponsors are on the line. Movie deals are on the table. And an entire brand has been built around one person’s image. Now, let’s be clear: I’m for the little guy over the elite celebrity. But it’s worth pointing out the different levels of destruction that happen in the wake of being caught in scandalous behavior.

After Chris D’Elia’s scandal from 2020, he went silent for almost a year. The combination of a pandemic, being exposed, and parenting a newborn is surely enough to make anyone disappear from the public. However, it turns out that Chris went silent because he was getting counseling, to try to figure out what was going on with him.

His podcast Congratulations is now regularly posting, and it’s taken a completely different tone. While he is still his hilarious and silly-goose self, he also sprinkles in the reality of his situation and his depravity. One minute he’ll be cracking up about a viral video and another minute he’ll be sharing how he cries in his car over the things he’s done and the people he’s hurt. He’ll do a bit about his son trying to speak for the first time. Then he’ll jump to how he watches videos of his son instead of pornography, as a diversion while waiting in line at Starbucks.

Cards on the table, I’ve been a fan of Chris D’Elia for some time and was troubled when all the news came out about him. And I never thought he’d come back the way he has. This isn’t a post about “cancel culture” or anything like that. But what is interesting is the black-and-white way it seems to work out. Someone either completely dodges cancelation or gets hit and disappears for good. But Chris D’Elia has done something unique, even beautiful. He’s come back transparently and with the understanding of who he is. No sweeping it under the rug, no pretending everything is alright. He openly shares conversations from therapy, and he even has moments of almost breaking down on camera. This in no way justifies anything he’s done but gives a look at what the reality of climbing out of rubble looks like. Even if you’re the one that buried yourself in it.

In one of these conversations, he recounts telling his therapist that he’s always felt no one liked him, and that when he walks into a room, it’s his job to get them to like him. I guess this might be attributable to any comedian, but still. His therapist presses him on this point:

Therapist: Calvin, your son.

Chris: Yeah.

Therapist: Well, you love Calvin, right?

Chris: Of course I do.

Therapist: Why?

Chris: I…

Therapist: He didn’t do anything to earn your love did he?

Chris: No…

Therapist: Well, maybe people just like you because … because.

He asks us, “You think I didn’t cry?” He then goes back into a comedic routine about his crying and ends the segment saying he’s been walking into rooms hoping for the best now.

There’s something beautiful about an underserved and unwarranted love. A love that’s present before you even walk into a room. A love that loves you just because. Of course, we have an entire theology behind our “because.” But our predestined, “before the foundations of the earth” love could truly be summed up as a love because … because. No need to earn, no need to even have a reason. Try as we might, with our deeds and actions, there’s no gaining love when it comes to the Good News. No schmoozing it up with God. It’s a love that came while we were yet sinners. This great “because” takes a name. Jesus, the manifestation of God’s massive “because.” And ever since the Earth was without form and void, God’s been proclaiming this “because” to humanity. Perhaps this “because” of ours might cause us to have hope as well. Hope that in the middle of the messes we make, everything just might be okay after all. Hope that maybe God just loves you because … because.