There is a celebrity who has featured prominently in the news and social media lately. Many Christians are excited about him because he has publicly stated that he believes in Jesus and wants to bring glory to His name. This individual is quite high profile and probably influences millions of followers through his social media presence, so I can see why Christians are excited to have him on “the team”. Although I grow weary of believers getting overly excited every time a celebrity makes even a nominal profession of faith or a vague reference to faith in God.
Nevertheless it is definitely not my place to judge another believers’ faith. I most certainly do not know this individual so even if I had the authority to judge him, I don’t have any foundation.
So this morning Instagram fed me a post about this particular celebrity, presumably because I have interacted with previous posts about him. From this morning’s post it is apparent that though he is not married, his fiancé is expecting their baby.
I’m not proud to say that my first thought was cynical... but I’m happy to report that I had an almost immediate second thought. A much better, less cynical thought. My second thought was - What is the right way to respond to this. It’s hard to imagine that judgement, condemnation and ridicule are the appropriate or Christlike responses, although sadly, for many Christians, those are our first reactions.
So this morning I paused, and I prayed, and the Lord took me to a couple of scriptures and gently spoke to my heart.
Coincidentally... or not, another Instagram post popped up from another account I follow. A quote which read “True believers are more horrified by their own sin than they are by the sins of others.”
The post referenced two scriptures. The first from 1 Timothy 1:15.
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all long-suffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.”
The second from Luke 18:13.
“And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
I remain cautiously optimistic about celebrity expressions of faith, but I also am taking the Lord’s gentle correction to heart. Especially as I close with this last scripture from Matthew chapter 7.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.