Miley Cyrus. What images flash through your mind when you hear her name? Hannah Montana? Her daddy and his famous mullet? Her hard-to-watch VMA example of fame’s all-too-often harsh implosion?
A precious and lost little girl searching in all the wrong places for an answer only provided in the blood-grace of a risen Savior?
Newspapers, social media sites, and blogs have Miley’s photo paraded across them, hoping that, like a horrible train wreck, we just can’t look away from them. And when we do see them, we have choices to make.
We can laugh, sneer, and look away. Or we can learn, love, and pray. We can talk about how no one is perfect and avoid talking about sin. Or we can stare sin directly in the face and talk about the Lamb who came to take sin away (John 1:29). We can speak grating lies about people who have become worthless. Or we can speak grace-full truth about souls who are worth the blood of Christ.
But not all blogs, articles, tweets, and status updates about Miley’s raw performance last Sunday night are brutal or crude. Two blog articles, in which the authors shared their hearts more than their minds, provide excellent perspectives on how we as Christ-followers ought to respond to Miley’s childish and uncontrolled antics.
Garrett Kell, senior pastor of Del Ray Baptist Church, wrote a powerful post titled What Would Jesus Say to Miley. In part, Kell writes:
“Jesus would tell Miley Cyrus that she is the kind of girl He came to spend time with.
There are a lot of religious types who won’t like to hear this. Jesus came to spend time with people just like Miley Cyrus. In the Gospel of Luke 5:30 the religious conservatives of Jesus’ day grumbled and said “why do you eat and drink with…sinners?” The answer? Because Jesus has compassion on sinners (Matthew 9:36), He loves sinners (Romans 5:8), and He came to call sinners to believe in Him (Luke 5:32)…In fact, that’s the very reason He left the holiness of heaven—to proclaim the Gospel of the kingdom to people just like Miley Cyrus.”
“Jesus would tell Miley Cyrus that her sin is deadly for herself and for others.
Jesus would tell Miley that “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (Jn. 10:10)…He’d say something like, “Miley, sin is deceiving you. It’s blinding you. It has told you it only wants a little, but it always wants a little more. Sin will never stop until it has consumed you.”
Jesus would tell Miley Cyrus to come to Him and He will give her rest.
Sin gives us pleasure—but that pleasure is always short-lived and it always leaves us empty.
Jesus would tell Miley that sin will never satisfy her soul because she was made for so much more. As Augustine, who once found life in orgies and drink, said “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find rest in you.”
Jesus would tell Miley Cyrus that she will be judged one day and that she needs to get ready today.
The good news is that God is a God who loves to extend mercy. In Ezekiel 33:11 He says “As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die…?” Jesus would tell Miley that she will be judged one day and that she needs to get ready today. The way to do that is to trust in the One who died for sinners like her, and like me, and like you and turn from our sins and follow Him.”
We have all heard it said “love the sinner, hate the sin.” This generation, however, feels that is too harsh and judgmental. Rather than following the ways of Jesus, they have revised the saying to suit a more seemingly peaceful mantra: “Love the sinner, hate your own sin. Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you.”
But that saying is a gross misunderstanding of scripture and means death to a dying and hurting world. My heart yearns to write a post delving much deeper into that. Until then:
Indeed, Jesus loves sinners with a compassionate undying love, but He hates sin with a passionate undying hate. Love gives, saves, and protects; sin takes, damns, and destroys. The amazing thing about grace is that it is entirely rooted in and founded on truth…we can trust in God’s grace precisely because He tells us we can, and He always tells the truth (Numbers 23:19). Grace and truth do not fight one another – they are the paradox that saves.
The second blog providing a Christ perspective, titled I Weep for Miley, is a powerfully tender and beautifully written example of the blog name: Kingdom People; Living on Earth as Citizens of Heaven. In part, Trevin Wax writes:
“Tonight, I weep…
I weep for the lostness of a girl who doesn’t see herself stumbling around in the dark…
I weep for the American Idol culture that promises glitter and gold to children, then chews them up and spits them out.
I weep for an entertainment culture that celebrates the breaking of every social taboo and the casting off of every restraint, only then to turn and mock the stars that follow suit…
I weep for men (myself included) who have failed to say, “Enough is enough.”
I weep for the broken, messed-up world we live in.
But then I weep at the power of grace.
There’s Jesus, lifting the head of a woman of the night and sending her away into the light. There’s Jesus in a crowd, healing a woman desperately trying to cover the shame. There’s Jesus at the well, transforming a woman tossed aside by multiple men.”
“For the hurt of the daughter of my people, I am hurt,” the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “I am mourning, dismay has taken hold of me (Jeremiah 8:21). Like Jeremiah, may our hearts break over what breaks the heart of God, and may we pray, function, serve, and speak truth from a broken heart full of God’s grace.
“Let your heart be tender and your vision clear.
See mankind as God sees, serve Him far and near.
Let your heart be broken by a brother’s pain.
Share your rich resources, give and give again.”
© 1975 The Evangelical Covenant Church