I recently watched a documentary detailing the life and times of a very popular American Rock and Roll band that will remain unnamed for the purposes of this article. Firstly, the name of the band is unimportant; and secondly, the documentary is hardly one that would endorse as wholesome viewing (or would ever watch again). Suffice it to say, the fast-forward feature on my streaming device was utilized liberally throughout, as would have been the mute-button had I been able to anticipate the ungodly chatter that was to occasionally emerge from what I foolishly thought was going to be a harmless educational documentary.
During the telling of their story, this rock band - extraordinarily talented and greatly admired by many - showed themselves to be the worst of reprobates and deviants in their personal lives. One sordid anecdote upon another spilled out of their mouths, recounted with a complete lack of remorse (and amid gales of laughter) as they praised actions that in any decent society would be cited as reprehensible and result in shame. But we are no longer a decent society, are we? Shame? What is that to us? We are weak - morally compromised through fear and equivocation; beaten down by political correctness and bullied into accepting wickedness as "standard operating procedure" for the human condition. Their only excuses for this foul behavior? It was the 60's... It was the 70's...
As I watched these men make a wreck of their lives (and a wreck of the lives of those within their sphere), I felt my in my heart two distinct reactions. The first reaction was revulsion at myself; that I had ever thought that this sort of behavior was in any way humorous or acceptable - or that individuals like this were "cool" and should be excused from normal standards of decent behavior because of their immense popularity. For the record, they should not be excused - and in the Eyes of The Lord God Yeshua, will not be excused.
The second reaction I had was an overwhelming sense of loss and pity for the subjects themselves. For though they are each millionaires many times over (and enjoy the adulation of countless throngs), their souls are as vapid as the day is long. One need not stoop to judge their hearts in order to see this; their fruit is on full display for all to see, and our fruit never lies.
I couldn't help but hear our Savior's words about such people:
"What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?" (Matt. 16:26)
These rich, famous, greatly admired, and astonishingly successful men are actually on track to earn the eternal fires of Hell (unless they repent). We take nothing across when we depart - our riches do not follow. Heaven cannot be bought, and Hell awaits all who reject the Gospel of Christ. There are no exceptions. As for being talented, even that is a gift from the One who will sit as judge over every soul one day - and woe to those who have exploited those gifts for personal gain (and sensual debauchery), while rejecting Jesus as the rightful Lord of their lives. He gave them every breath they ever drew, powered every heartbeat, and planted into them (at birth) gifts that were so special they became known to the world. After all that, these men (by their own words and deeds) are currently on a track that will eventually place them before the bar in an eternal courtroom, whereby they will be proven to have selfishly exploited His goodness.
Yes - what I feel for them is great pity, and a desire to pray that their eyes are somehow opened to the truth. But you are no exception, dear Heart - nor am I. We must all appear before The One and Only Judge. Every knee will bow, and every heart will confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord. Liking it isn't a part of the equation.
It is not the point of this dissertation to focus on (or single-out) this music group, for we are all sinners from birth and stand in need of God's great gift of Salvation through the redemptive Blood of Yeshua. The question I mean to raise deals specifically with our propensity to elevate and admire people who conduct themselves very poorly throughout the world. Pop culture is currently overrun with rot and decay, and has been for decades. Should we be elevating and admiring people who are brash and unrepentant in their overt rebellion to God? Ask yourself as you peruse the list of the rich and famous whom you admire; aside from the talent that made them famous, can you honestly say that you see anything to be admired about them personally? It's a rhetorical question - you needn't answer - but as to the rock band in question, I will (and gladly). I saw almost nothing to admire or elevate, and it saddened me greatly.
During the discourse of their confessions, I did not hear a single remorseful word from any of them bemoaning how wrong it had been to conduct themselves as they did when it was all drugs, sex, and debauchery. In fact, the bald arrogance on display (and the shameless laughter that resulted) revealed quite clearly that they are still very much in line with how they conducted themselves in the days of their youth. The question of morality (or their alignment to it) was never once broached.
In typical worldly fashion, the men in question appease their guilty consciences by waxing self-righteous about things like the environment. Now don't misunderstand; wanting a clean world is a good thing, and I'm down with that - but those of a worldly (Godless) mindset regularly use such causes as replacements for faith in God. It's the devil's iron to the heart - anything to keep them from turning to Jesus. In the end, though their good deeds be admirable, these acts of altruism and activism will do nothing to save their eternal souls from Hell if they go before The Lord in a state of unrepentant rebellion.
It's an important topic for Christians to consider. Have we (and I'm just as guilty) been right to elevate men and women who are overtly wicked just because they've successfully cultivated a talent that was given them by God? I'm not suggesting album or book burnings (or anything of the sort). But surely there's got to be a point at which shameful behavior starts being called out for what it is; whereby people who act in such a manner are subjected to the consequences of said behavior - just as it use to be in better times before things like rock and roll and filthy movies made it hip and cool to defile oneself with wickedness.
Abba has long-since trained my eyes to always consider the eternal angle of every given situation first; and I don't mind saying that this should be standard operating procedure for every believing Christian. When we see a poster, for instance, of a famous actor or musician who has crossed over to meet their eternal fate; should we not feel a sense of dread for them if their fruit had clearly shown them to have departed this life in a state of overt rebellion? We could easily comprise a massive list of those who have done this, and names are likely popping up in your mind even now. In each case, unless there was a turning of which we have no knowledge (for only God knows their last fleeting moments on this Earth), these sad individuals crossed over into eternal-death, thumbing the nose at Yeshua. The lives of such individuals are a complete and total waste. Despite great wealth and great fame, they ultimately gained nothing - took nothing - and (again, granting God's solitary place for final judgment) are likely enduring an existence that would make the worst horror movie pale by comparison.
We should therefore use great caution with what we choose to lift up in admiration - not only for our sakes, but for the sakes of those we are enabling with our monetary support. There's a LOT going on in pop culture and throughout our society that we should find abhorrent and sickening... and a lot of Christians I hear discussing such things do so with merriment and laughter.
I'm no longer amused...
Yeshua never was.
Your brother and servant in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Mark Scott Grimmett