“For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine . . . and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4 This week’s assault on Facebook is 2 Timothy 4:3-4, with assorted memes and photos (one is a shot of the verse, in situ, […]
Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan — Hollywood’s sweethearts have their issues, and we, for some reason, feel as if we have to deal with them.
“We need to pray for these young women,” I have heard, and read, over and over from Christians. “We need to have an attitude of compassion and grace, not judgment.”
Well, I won’t argue with that, adding that, in the future, as new Hollywood sweethearts crop up with their meritorious role modeling that we set before our own pre-teen girls, we stop for a moment and remember the past. Before we fund another, “Is she a Christian or is she not?” celebrity phenomenon, why not root around in the closet or basement for a role model closer to home — mom, maybe, or an aunt, sister, cousin, friend — surely somewhere in our immediate vicinity is a person who studies hard, treats people nicely, speaks softly, and deals honestly with others.
The beauty about a role model close to home is that we actually know this person, not just the impression we are given by the media and the celebrity’s agent. And it wouldn’t hurt to direct our attention — and grace — toward regular, ordinary people who don’t attract photographers like fleas, or who don’t miraculously score lucrative publishing deals when they decide to write a book about their feelings. (I wrote a book — did you know that?)
Focus on the Real People in Your Life
Celebrities only get rich because we make them so, one dollar of ours at a time, and when they disappoint us — by being different from the carefully crafted illusion — we say, “It’s so hard — all that money and fame and attention. They just broke under the strain.”
That’s very compassionate, and while it is good not to make snap judgments based upon a dearth of facts, famous people know that their lives are under scrutiny, and the very attention that brings in the love and money, can turn the other way.
So if you wish to pray for Miley, and Britney, and Lindsay, by all means do so, but if you’d like to do something more meaningful and far more difficult, pray for somebody else, and she’s really easy to find:
Look within your own circles of people you actually know, and find the tramp. The slut. The trashy little vamp who sleeps around with everybody and is oh, so offensive. She’s probably the daughter of someone in your church — a girl gone wrong, is a gentle way of putting it, and I didn’t use the disparaging terms lightly; too many people have heard them in association with someone they love very much — and instead of shunning her parents and the entire family because she’s a bad influence on yours, why don’t you pretend that she’s Miley, or Britney, or Lindsay, and pray for her.
Treat Human Beings Like Human Beings
When you see her outside the post office, treat her like any other human being, because, frankly, she is a human being, and say, “Hello.” You don’t have to go into exhaustive detail about her new, wild lifestyle and tell her how you’re praying that she “comes back to Christ.” Just smile. Say hello. Chit chat. Then say your prayer, silently, as you depart from one another:
“Dear God: this is your beautiful child. She’s confused, and hurt, and angry right now, and she’s not making some of the right decisions. Embrace her with your love.”
While you’re on a roll, pray for the rest of the family: “Her parents, her siblings, her daughter/son — they all love her and are confused and hurt as well. Help this family walk this difficult path together, and arrive at a good place.”
This keeps going: maintain contact with the family, if you have in the past, or develop a friendship. They already feel like pariahs, and believe me, they have experienced walking into a crowded room when everyone suddenly stops talking and looks embarrassed.
Compassion. We All Need It.
All people make mistakes, and when they’re in the midst of hurting is not the best of times for the rest of us to discuss their shortcomings, perceived or real. Hurting people need compassion, and while we may think our righteous words of judgment — too often never addressed directly to the hurting people — will draw the reprobates back, this is not the case.
When things work out and the dust settles, the parents, and the siblings, and the girl herself, will remember who turned their backs on them, who avoided them in the grocery store, who absented themselves completely from their lives, and it wasn’t Jesus. Quite unfortunately, it might have been someone in Jesus’ name.
Don’t let it be you.