It’s another day and there’s another celebrity accused of sexual misconduct. With each new revelation there is the typical cycle of responses:
In celebrities, we find an escape from our mundane lives filled with disappointed and struggle; we connect ourselves to the character the celebrity plays. We may be attracted to the good guy who always comes to the rescue; the underdog who looks like they should fail but miraculously succeeds; the deeply flawed character who struggles but gets through life; the sports hero who comes through in the clutch. We are attracted to celebrities and the roles they play because there is a part of us that wants to identify with them. We identify with celebrities because they offer us hope—an escape from what our lives actually are to that which we long for.
There is so much shock each time a different celebrity’s deplorable actions are revealed because our hope in the celebrity’s persona is shattered; the escape and dream we found in them is exposed as not real. We have treated celebrities as if they were gods, able to rescue us (at least momentarily). We’ve welcomed them into our lives, we’ve believed what they said, and in them we’ve found hope for something better than we have. Like all people they too will fall short, disappoint, and ultimately seek their own power and glory.
Why are we still surprised by the endless stream of allegations? It is because we are looking for hope; we want hope in a world and a life that can feel downright hopeless some days.
In God we find hope and the promise that the wrongs of this world will be made right. We are right to be saddened each time we hear of abuse whether celebrity or otherwise because it is a symptom of our world broken by sin. We ought to be saddened but we should not be surprised. Scripture tells a horrifyingly predictable pattern of God’s people failing to get it right, failing to love God and each other perfectly; it is a story of people seeking their own glory and honour.
But more significantly Scripture is a story of redemption and hope where we learn of a God who will never disappoint because His words and actions are always unchanging. We learn of a God who offers us hope and escape from a life of disappointment, pain, and frustration. We learn of a God who cares so much for you that He invested Himself in this world in the simplest way, as a baby, to bring life and relationship with Him now and forever. Because we believe in a God of redemption we should pray for the victims to receive the healing power of God’s presence in their lives and for the accused to come to repentance and restoration in Jesus. We should also examine ourselves: we are all sinners in need of God’s grace and we all turn away from God to chase after those things that seem to offer us hope in the present.
The next time you hear allegations of celebrity misconduct,, ask yourself ‘why am I still surprised?’ Is it because of the brokenness of the situation where lives were damaged and people hurt? Or is it because in our search for hope we thought we found it in this larger than life person, only to be disappointed once again? Keep looking to God, the only One who won't disappoint you!
I'll share some reflections on the past week which my family and I spent at Camp Simmie. It was a refreshing week for me: the people there are awesome, the kids had a blast, the worship was Spirit-filled, and the speakers were out of this world (I may be a little biased). During the morning study session, I led us in thinking about the hope that we have as God's people. It is a pretty basic concept but it is one that we need to return to constantly.
All we have to do is look around us at the world in which we are living to get discouraged. It could be the pile of bills waiting to be opened and paid, a sickness of a family member that is causing them pain and discomfort, or just the everyday grind of life. We were reminded this week that these things were not in God's original design (they are a result of humanity's continued rejection of God's working in us) and that they will continue until Jesus comes again to make God's dwelling place with humanity. But we were also reminded that there is hope in the midst of disconcerting times. In fact, God alone is the only source of lasting hope that we can have! The next few posts will draw out the idea of our hope being rooted fully in God.
Our hope is in God the Father's Faithfulness. When you are reading Scripture, one of the most prominent themes is that of God's action on behalf of His people. The Bible is a story of God's faithful work in His people.
The Bible is a story of God's faithful work in His people
Go ahead and read it! Time and time again, you'll see stories of God's promise and action on behalf of the people He created and loves. Turn to Genesis 21:1 and you'll see God fulfilling the promise He gave to Abraham and Sarah that they'd have a son in their old age.
Turn to Genesis 45:4-8 and you'll hear of God's plan for feeding His people in the midst of famine, through the 'disposal' of the despised brother Joseph.
The whole book of Exodus is one story after another of God's action in bringing His people out from under the oppression of slavery in Egypt. (Especially Exodus 15 where the story is retold in song).
There are countless other examples that'd I'd encourage you to take note of because we have a God of promises and covenant!
The point of having a collection of such stories is that we need to be reminded of God's faithfulness, His constant action on behalf of His people, His unending love for us in the good times and especially in the bad. We are quick to forget and quick to complain. God's Word constantly calls us back to trust in God's all-sufficient action in our lives.
I'd encourage you to read Psalm 136, which is a retelling of the work of God for His people. After reading it, perhaps you'd find it helpful to write your own Psalm with the refrain, "His love endures forever." Fill in the blanks with your story of remembering God's actions toward you. Here is a template for you to print off, fill out, and keep in a prominent place to remind you of God's faithful work in your life.
Image: Public Domain, http://pixabay.com/en/rainbow-nature-horizon-colors-110953/
Pastor J-M shares some occasional thoughts and musings on our life together as followers of Christ. The views are his own.