If you watched or heard anything about the MTV Video Music Awards recently, you most likely heard about the ridiculous performance by the once popular Disney Channel star, Miley Cyrus. I’ll be the first to admit that I was a bit shocked as I watched it all unfold. However, I was even more shocked at the responses to the performance I saw as I scrolled through my Facebook and Twitter pages. People were calling her names like “slut, skank, nasty, trashy and an idiot” just to name a few. This honestly wouldn’t surprise me at all because I see things like that every day on social media. The part that actually saddened me was that these names were even coming from my Christian brothers and sisters. Oh how quickly we fall from grace…
The title of this post is enough for anyone to get my main point. Jesus loves Miley Cyrus just as much as he loved you and me when we were lost in our sin (Romans 5:8). He sent His Son Jesus to die for the sins of the world. That means Miley’s sin as well. So here’s my big question:
What makes you think you are any better than Miley Cyrus?
So many of us become legalistic, biblical Pharisees as soon as we see someone do something we disapprove of. We hold others to the standards we think we live by each day, rarely stepping back to realize how much God hates our self-righteousness just as much as that other person’s sinful actions. We absolutely love to point the finger at others as they ruin their lives because, for some strange reason, it makes us feel better about ourselves. It shows others that we have it all together. We compare ourselves to other sinful people rather than the perfect character of God, because then we actually have a chance to prove how great we are. This gets ugly fast.
In John 8:2-11 we see how Jesus responded to a similar situation. As Jesus was teaching in the temple, several religious leaders of the day, otherwise known as Pharisees, brought a woman whom they had caught in adultery to Him as to see how he would respond to her sin. Verses 6-11 read as follows:
This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? She said, “no one, Lord.” And Jesus said, neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
Do you get what just happened? Jesus had to point out the fact that these men were no better than the woman caught in adultery. Her sin was no worse than their own in the sense that it condemned each and every one of them. Jesus must have written something in the dirt that was so convicting to them that they were broken at the sight of it. It’s interesting as well that from the oldest to the youngest, they all walked away when confronted with the weight of their own sin. They were all for condemnation when it meant pointing out the fault of others, but not themselves. They believed that their righteous works made them better than a woman who would commit adultery. As one famous writer put it, “The devil’s greatest masterpiece is not the prostitute, but the Pharisee.”
Now I am not saying Miley Cyrus was committing adultery, but I see striking similarities between her situation of chastisement and the woman in the story. Just as the Pharisees, we can become so eager to point out the sin of others that we completely ignore the fact that God has shown us the same grace through our own sin and worse. Even when we do the right thing with the wrong motives, we are just revealing the deep unrighteousness that lives in our own hearts. His grace was undeserved, unmerited, and even undesired by many of us. If you expect other people to live up to biblical standards, who couldn’t care less about the Bible, you’re fooling yourself. By publicly ridiculing them, you are revealing to the world that you can’t even live up to those standards either. And for that matter, why would you expect to see anything else on MTV? Our culture is jacked up because we live in a broken world.(btw…things will get worse.) Don’t be surprised by this!
The gospel of Jesus Christ shows each of us how needy and helpless we are apart from God’s grace. It shows us that our best efforts to earn righteousness are in vain. Pointing the finger at others is often just our sneaky way of puffing ourselves up to be better than we are. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re better than anyone else. You may have been saved by God’s grace, but there is a whole world of people who have yet to experience the same. Condemnation has never, and will never save anyone. Our words and actions are far more influential than we could ever realize. Speaking negatively in situations like this gives off a horrible representation of Christ and his love for the world. Why would anyone ever want to be a part of that Christianity? As Christians, we should look for and seize opportunities to encourage those around us. It’s good to remember that it is the kindness of God that leads people to repentance (Romans 2:4), not our mocking and hurtful name calling. I’m not exempt from this. The last few days have been very convicting for me as well. But, Jesus can help us move past the judgment and condemnation. He’ll bring us to a place where we find hope in the words “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.”