Back when I learned Greek Mythology in High School, I did not understand. I could not grasp the importance, the value of such knowledge. But some of the stories were entertaining. And I can very well remember the enjoyment when one of the gods fell into ruin and misery. These gods, so full of themselves, so self-important, deserved to fall and there was a feeling of justice when they did.
I have often written on the problem of celebrity in our culture and specifically in evangelical culture. The celebrity often gets in the way of the gospel – his or her image crowds out the image of God in the face of Jesus. And they end up wielding a power that puts them beyond effectual reproof or correction. We share a lot of the blame when this happens. We create them. Our hearts are idol factories.
There is another celebrity issue I cannot get my head around that makes even less sense. A celebrity, such as Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus, falls hard into addiction and sinful destructive behavior and we take to the internet and make jokes at the their expense. We retweet and share others who are making fun of them. Why? I assume because they deserve it.
Their sins are so great, they deserve to be publicly mocked. Their mugshot…their image as a criminal, hangs in cyberspace for us to laugh at. And why shouldn’t we? We might as well cast lots on ebay for their gear while we’re at it.
Because we should be the last ones to do so. We should be the ones silent if we cannot love them. Why are we so slow to show them mercy in the public sphere instead of heaping up ridicule? Because our love will not get a laugh. It will not make us feel better in the insecurity of our ordinary lives.
Our knee-jerk reaction to the downfall of the rich and famous should be an echo of the grace we ourselves received. We should be quick to look on them with the same love we enjoy from God. The evangelical church so desirous to evangelize the world has so much trouble with “Love is kind,” when it’s a celebrity we didn’t really like in the first place. We want to change the world in the name of Jesus all the while ridiculing those who most need the very grace we have received.