Over the past 30 years or so, I can remember on many occasions attempting to justify liking a band, an author, or some other type of celebrity by attempting to show that they had Christian type ideals or beliefs. I am not alone in this – look on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc, and you will see multitudes of posts – if you have Christian friends – about some celebrities faith, or their thoughts on God or humanity, world peace, blah blah blah. I have come to realize that its all pointless.
First – like what you want to like, regardless of the producer of the product. Of more concern should be the product itself, not where who it comes from. If heavy metal does a cover of “Amazing Grace” and you like it, awesome. Doesn’t make the members of that metal band Christian, and it doesn’t matter. The song is a good product, and you like how it sounds with a touch of metal or hard rock. The band doesn’t need to be “good” or “Christian” for the fruit of their labor to be good. I use heavy metal because I was a long time fan of that type of music – but you can substitute anything. Also, I use “Amazing Grace” simply because where or not you are Protestant or Catholic or Orthodox, the song can move you, but in truth, it could be any song with a message that is “good.” Remember, God used a donkey to speak to a man who spoke to Israel (Number 22:21-39).
Second – Justification of celebrities is not really about them, it is about us. It is about us being insecure in what and who we like, what we watch, what we listen to, and what we may read. We feel the need to justify these people to justify our on likes. Pretty sad really. In this, we also lose site of who that celebrity is – we cherry pick some comment, some song, some writing and use that as our lens when we view that person or persons, and in turn, expect everyone else to do the same thing. If we feel the need to justify our liking of something, there is a reason, and I would wager a guess is because we fear that someone who is a fellow Christian will see or hear what we are doing and in turn judge us for it. If we have a fear of being judged because we listen to so and so, or watch whatever, or like this series of books, maybe instead of justifying the source, we should re-evaluate the material.
Third – The source of everything we enjoy on this earth in regards to music, books, television, sports, movies and the like is human. There may be inspiration from God, but in the end, it comes from a human being. Human beings are flawed, no more how high the pedestal they sit on, and attempting to justify them is not on us, but on them. God looks at our hearts and sees our faith or lack thereof, people hear of our faith and see the works that it produces, or the lack thereof. Just as we should not concern ourselves what others think of us, as long as our fruit is good, likewise, celebrities aren’t concerned about your justification of them. most celebrities attempt to do some sort of good work – whether it be through charity, or some sort of mission. Most celebrities have some feel good story that touches us – but it doesn’t mean that they are Christian, and on the same hand, it doesn’t mean that we need to justify their behavior.
Fourth – It causes unreal expectations. We justify celebrities then they come out in support of something totally opposite to our beliefs, and even though we know the truth deep down in our hearts, we are shocked and dismayed. Same goes for people we know are believers – pastors, fellow church members, family members, etc. This is both unfair to them and to us. Again, I ask, what does it really matter – beyond their potential salvation, in which we, more then likely, will not have the opportunity to participate in. It also forces us to judge them – think about it. In the same vein that we build our children up, it is us, more so then others, that get upset and heart when they fail. Same goes for anything we build up – whether it be a celebrity or a sports team. Simply think about it – how upset are you when your team, the team you have been justifying all year, suddenly fails to produce when it matters. Pretty damn upset I would imagine.
Fifth – If the enjoyment of the material causes us to want to justify the person making it, in other words, the fruit, it isn’t the person who needs to be justified but the labor itself. I’m a fan of many things that are not proper, and I am sure many of you are. If there are problems, it doesn’t lay with the content creator, but those who engage in the content itself. Again, think about it – if the content wasn’t enjoyable to many, the creator of that content would have to do something else, either within that same realm of things, or in something else entirely.
Here’s the deal, I don’t know if my favorite musicians, authors, TV producers, movie directors, sports stars, video game creators and YouTube creators are Christian or even believe in a god or not. Even if they say they are or do, again, I don’t know. It is the fruit that shows the heart, and if that fruit is good, then it is good, if it is bad, then it is bad, if it looks good but is poison, then it is poison in a pretty shell. We do not need to justify the tree or even the ground in which the tree is planted for us to be able to judge the fruit. It is up to us to choose whether or not we partake of the fruit or not, not whether the tree is good. I believe good fruit can come from diseased sources, likewise, i believe that rotten fruit can come from healthy ones.
We can get so caught up in who is saved and who isn’t, what is sin and what isn’t, who are good people and who are not that we miss what is important – what we are doing to ourselves. I don’t have to agree with the lifestyle of someone to get something good from that person – or to love them, or to like what they produce. We are all, as human beings, wounded in some way, we all have sticks and logs in our eyes, we all need some sort of healing. Though we should lift one another up, though we should share one another’s burdens, we should not attempt to justify someone else to simply make us feel better. This only serves to place a shadow over that person, causing more of a burden on both them and us. For if we justify them once, we must keep on justifying them.