Michael Jackson just like me?
Everyday thousands of people die, but unless you are famous (or infamous) your passing will go unnoticed by the world. Yes, Michael Jackson has died and the world has spent more time pontificating on this event than on the many deaths caused by war, famine, abortion, and abuse. So what are we to make of all of the speculation?
It is obvious that Michael Jackson was a troubled individual who has been accused of child abuse, drug abuse, and many other perverse things. His world of money and fame brought him nothing but heartache and pain. In the end he was a man who died alone surrounded by leeches. Underneath the talent, fame, money, and power was a man who desperately longed for meaning and relationships. He sought it in ways that were unhealthy and sinful but nonetheless he was living out the reality that we all have – a need to love and be loved. Some will overlook his dark side in order to remember what he has contributed to the world of music and others will condemn (even mock) him for his sin.
Yet, Michael Jackson is the dark-side of all of us. As the old saying goes, “but for the grace of God go I!” Yes, we are to condemn sin and live for holiness, but God generally calls for judgment to begin in the household of God. God finds no pleasure in the death of the wicked but rather desires them to repent and turn to him. (Ezekiel 33:11). We look at Michael Jackson and shrink back in disgust. Not because we cannot believe that such a man exists but because deep down we know that without Christ that could be us. Our dark side doesn’t lie so far from the surface that we can’t feel its pull.
The Apostle Paul says that he counted all things lost compared to knowing Christ. He understood that the battle within was strong. He knew that without a deep and abiding relationship with Christ that the old nature would run rampant and try and fill the need for relationships in very dark ways. That is why he pressed, struggled, and fought for the prize in Christ. If we are to find true relationships that are deep and fulfilling it will require us to take the hard and narrow road. Perversion comes easy—holiness comes with sacrifice. Fortunately for us the sacrifice has been made through Jesus. His blood cleanses us from our sin. His death crucifies our sinful nature and we are clothed with a new nature that longs for and is fulfilled in a relationship with the Father through Jesus.
Today let us not condemn the condemned, but rather rejoice in our freedom that came at such a great price. Let us pursue, in love, the relationships that bring true meaning and deep satisfaction. Let us reach out to a dark world that needs to find the mercy and grace that has been abundantly poured out on us. Let us press on towards that great call that is in Christ Jesus.