Archive

Archive for the ‘sin’ Category

Is There Grace for Miley Cyrus?

September 4, 2013 1 comment

Hannah-Montana-Forever-10I had decided I had waited too long to comment on Miley Cyrus’ appearance on the Video Music Awards a week or so ago. Then I saw a poll that had been conducted by a local newspaper:

How would you describe Miley Cyrus’s performance at the MTV Awards?

  1. 63% Disgusting
  2. 19% Should have been censored
  3. 0% Cry for help
  4. 10% What happened to that innocent Hannah Montana?
  5. 7% It was OK by me

I appreciate the fact that the paper tried to be somewhat objective, in phrasing the question so that it was about the performance and not the performer. We were not so fortunate when other people were commenting on the incident.

I had more people than I care to count tell me, not that the performance was “disgusting,” but that Miley was. She was also “nasty,” “totally untalented,” and surely “must be on drugs.” Too many followers of Christ, including myself, were willing to drag another human being through the mud based on what? Something that offended us and our sensibilities? Were the batteries dead in our remotes? Did our remote not have an on/off switch or a channel changer?

I seriously doubt it. We watched it, when it happened live or the jillions of times it was replayed on news channels, and we clucked our tongues and we thanked God we were “not like other people–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector [singer].”

Is there grace for Miley Cyrus?

I hope I would always say yes, yes, if she would just open her eyes and understand that God loves her, has always loved her and that he accepts her, and that she doesn’t have to expose her body or behave in sexually provocative ways to get affection and acceptance and significance…

But I’m not sure I always do say yes.

Miley is 20 years old. I thank God that the sinful mistakes I made at 20 were not broadcast on television or written up in the newspapers.  She is most likely surrounded by people who constantly say, “Yes Miley, whatever you think Miley, sounds like a great idea to me Miley…” There is probably nobody in her life who can put the brakes on, challenge her and encourage her to rethink. I’m afraid of what my own children would be like in those circumstances.

I guess the bottom line is “what can we do?” We can tone down the judgmental rhetoric. (How would you feel if your child made a huge, public mistake and people called them nasty and disgusting?) And we can pray – that the eyes of Miley and others would be opened to the reality of a God who stands ready to forgive, love, and accept. And we can offer to others the same grace, in the same measure, we would want for ourselves.

Yes, there’s grace for Miley Cyrus – and for all of us finger-pointing Pharisees too.

Advertisements
Categories: acceptance, brokenness, drama, grace, sin

Friday Remix: Redemption Drama

December 12, 2008 1 comment

The woman was not a “penitent.”  She was terrified and certain she was going to die a gruesome death. She most likely pleaded for her life and promised not to do “it” again. But repentant? Not hardly.

She is dragged, kicking and fighting and probably nude, to the feet of the rabbi.

Her “captors” – all men – are cocky and confident. If they didn’t have to drag this naked, spitting, screaming woman they would be swaggering or doing a George Jefferson-style strut. “This deal is airtight,” they think. “He’ll trip himself up this time and we’ll have him right where we want him…”

The woman is being dragged to what she knows is a death sentence. Wide-eyed, wild-eyed, stomach-churning fear wraps itself around her unable to replace her missing clothes.

The men rush to vindication and victory. Soon the troublemaking teacher will be out of their hair and the status quo will be restored. Glee is the order of the moment.

They are all stopped cold by the Master.

“Rabbi, we caught her red handed… in “the act,” if you know what we mean (and we think you do)… Moses said we could stone women like her. What do you say?”

The Master says…nothing. Instead, he stoops down and begins to write in the dirt. We’re not told what he writes. There is much speculation – the names and/or sins of the men, the law they were referring to. Whatever he writes, it has no affect on the crowd. They keep asking, “What do you say? C’mon, tell us what you think we should do?”

The Master stands up and brushes the dirt from his hands. “The sinless one among you can throw the first rock.”  Not quite what they expected. The mental calculations begin, as the Master stoops again to write in the sand.

“Well, I can’t throw a rock – that guy over there knows that I…”

Rocks are dropped like they’re hot, and one by one, the men suddenly remember urgent tasks, appointments, and important responsibilities that require them to be anywhere but here.

The Master and the woman are alone.  She’s not sure what to expect, doesn’t know she’s in the presence of the only man qualified to throw a stone at her. But instead of a rock, he throws her a lifeline. “Where are your accusers?” the Master inquires. “They’re gone,” she replies. “I’m not going to punish you,” the Master declares, “Go, and pursue a life free from sin.”

The blunt force grace of the Master’s statement hits me hard.  I have lived two roles in this little drama.

I have been brash and self-righteous, confident that God was on my side in the fight and was in fact holding my coat.  I have put on the judge’s robes, ignoring the ill-fit as I pronounced certain judgment on those who surely deserved it.

The Master’s words have stung me. “If you’re sinless, go ahead, pass sentence and carry out the punishment.”

And I have been naked and terrified, exposed in my sin for all to see. I have been convinced that this was the last straw, all the Master could stand from me. I have been sure that the stones were about to fly.

The Master’s words have soothed me, saved me. “No condemnation. Go, and don’t sin anymore.”

We need both the words that expose our judgmental folly and the words that heal and forgive. It is the truth of our sordid condition and the liberating reality of our salvation that gives us hope.

Categories: Jesus, sin Tags: ,

This week’s micro-drama

January 17, 2008 1 comment

In a home with eight permanent human residents, plus two cats and between two and six friends, neighbors, and tag-alongs at any given time, there is going to be some drama…

It began with a phone call Tuesday morning when the bank statement came in the mail.  Vicki called me at the office and in her sweetest voice said, “I need to ask you a question… Why is there a charge for $59.95 on our debit card from dating.com?”  Of course, I went into panic mode!  I knew I hadn’t done business on any such web site.  So now everyone becomes a suspect: had one of the boys done it?  One of their friends?  Did the garbage man rummage through our trashbags?

There was at 800 number from the website on the bank statement.  I called the number and spoke with a very nice lady who told me that my debit card had been used to set up an account and the e-mail of the person who had registered the account was Dominica_ qutez147@yahoo.com .  No ma’am, that’s not me and no one I know or have ever known has ever used that address.  The customer service rep cheerfully agreed to refer the matter to their fraud department and assured me that I would be credited back my money in seven to ten days. 

I spent the rest of the morning at my bank:  The bank teller and I went over my statements looking for any other transactions that seemed strange or unusual.  There was just the usual: Wal-Mart… McDonald’s… Wal-Mart… Wal-Mart… Amazon… Wal-Mart… Christianbook.com… Wal-Mart… McDonald’s… Wal-Mart… well you get the idea, nothing else showed up.  The bank “hot-carded” my debit card so it couldn’t be used again, then cancelled it and got me set up for a new one.  They told us we were “lucky,” not the norm:  apparently only one entry was made into our bank account; others have not been as fortunate.

I’ve wondered how this could happen, but I suppose there are numerous places a person could have gotten my debit card number… We’re active online shoppers in a number of venues.  A server in a restaurant could’ve made in extra imprint.  The folks at the bank said the person who stole my number might not even be the one who used it; they might have sold it to someone else.  So I ended the day feeling relieved that no more had been taken and that the situation was going to be set right, but still creeped out by the whole experience. 

Not to put too fine a spiritual point on it, but sin can creep up on us in much the same way that fraudulent charge creeped up on me.  Somewhere there was an opening, an opportunity that some unscrupulous person took advantage of.  Satan will do the same to us if we’re not careful.  We may not realize it when we let our guard down, but the evidence will show up a day or a week or a year later, and we’re left to deal with the consequences.   The devil is a deceiver and a devourer.  We have to be careful.

Categories: drama, sin, troubles