My family hasn’t had cable at our house for a few years now, an adjustment which still hasn’t fully set in for me.
Yet, when I came downstairs this morning the first thing my mom said to me was,
“Did you see Miley Cyrus at the VMAs last night?”
I’m pretty sure anyone who had come within ten feet of a television or computer today is well aware of two things: *NSYNC reunited for the first time in a decade last night, and Miley Cyrus changed the way we look at foam fingers and teddy bears from here on.
At first, I joined in with the rolling eyes and shaking heads; this is typical Miley, right? But soon it started to settle differently with me. Something felt wrong.
Why are we so quick to shake our heads at this and discount it as normal behavior?
Sure, she is a celebrity and stunts like this have definitely been done before and will undoubtedly be done again. Let’s be honest though, if she were a “normal” girl whom you encountered in your neighborhood, your church, or your school, I don’t think you would be shaking your head and passing this off as “normal” behavior. We treat celebrity behavior differently because we treat celebrities differently, and it is not okay. On the other end, I definitely do not agree with the side of blogger moms who have written open letters to their daughters, shaming Miley for her actions and warning them to stay away from girls like her.
Maybe it isn’t just Miley who can’t stop. Maybe we are just as much to blame.
My heart completely breaks for celebrities. Truly, I think they are the most broken, hurting people group of all in this world, but they are constantly overlooked by those of us who claim to be followers of Christ. We immediately write them off as different, unreachable, and “too worldly”. We roll our eyes at their actions, write blogs about how wretched they are, and sink deeper into our safe little world of only Christian music, movies, and books which we share with only our Christian, church going friends.
Celebrities are people, people just like you and me, who just happen to be more well known. They aren’t objects, they aren’t different. They are people who are just as in need of love, healing, compassion, and forgiveness like you, me, and everyone else on earth. The amount of money they make, movies they star in, sold out venues they perform for, or red carpets they walk down does not change the fact that they are all human beings with emotions and stories, mothers and fathers, heartaches and dreams, loves and losses, sins and struggles. No amount of money can change the fact that these are our brothers and sisters, children of God whether they know it or not, loved and cherished by a Creator who so longs to ease their aches and pains and see them brought into His kingdom by those of us who claim to live our lives for Him.
“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised,” – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
Maybe it’s a crazy thought, but I believe God doesn’t just care about the church going members of society. Jesus didn’t die for the perfect, because none of us are perfect. Instead, He came to save the broken, dirty, and lost, the liars, cheaters, murderers, addicts, porn stars, pimps, abusers, and celebrities. No matter if you are white or black, gay or straight, lost or found, abundantly wealthy or devastatingly poor, broken or restored, running away or chasing after Him, the love God has for you is never withheld, never out of reach, and never any less. He loves you more in this moment than anyone else could in a lifetime.
When Jesus came to earth, He didn’t spend His years sitting in a comfy church pew, surrounded by comfortable, clean community. He spent His life getting His hands dirty, loving the prostitutes and tax collectors and ones declared unclean by society. We are called to live as Christ, to go and make disciples and love as He does, not to sit in comfortable community and hide away with our familiar friends and safe church services. Yes, we need community to grow and thrive, but we are to take what we gain in community and share that with the ones who are without.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” – Matthew 28:19
So instead of being so quick to judge every action, every performance, every outfit choice, why don’t we take the time to stop and realize that these are our brothers and sisters, ones as equally loved by Christ as we are?
Maybe before we lash out with harsh comments and open letters to our daughters about all of Miley’s flaws, we could consider the fact that we are casting judgement on our sister who faces trials, struggles, joys, and highs that we know nothing about. Why are our hearts so quick to jump to condemnation and judgement instead of falling to our knees and interceding in love for the people who need His grace just as we do?
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time,” – 1 Timothy 2:1-6
So next time we see another celebrity do something that shocks us, instead of shaking our heads and rolling our eyes, we can stop and take time to ask God to shower them with love, cover them with grace, and heal their broken hearts. Instead of casting judgement and moving on as though things never change, let’s dare to believe in Christ’s radical love. Let’s dare to believe that He cares more about the state of our hearts and the souls of His wandering children than He does about church pews, perfectly rehearsed worship songs, and your comfort.
Let’s dare to stop our hate, and dive into love. Let’s break down the divide of celebrities and normal people, and instead view the world through the eyes of Christ. Let’s choose to see brothers and sisters instead of actors and performers, and let’s dare to love them, care for them, and pray for them.
Pray. Intercede. Give thanks.
Not just for me and you and our family and friends, but for kings and queens, celebrities and authorities, because by His grace we are all His own, and we are made to love like Jesus.
(So here is my challenge to you: Choose a celebrity, or multiple if you want, and pray for them. Even if you only take five minutes a day to do it, the change you can bring through Christ in their lives will be eternal. The reality is that you may never see the fruit, but we don’t pray to see answers, we pray because we believe with great faith that God is good and wants the best for us all. Pick a celebrity and pray for His love to be made evident to them, His grace abundant, and His presence undeniable. I don’t care if it feels silly, it is serious and life altering. Dare to be the change.)