Monday, February 02, 2015

What to Make of Katy Perry?

Katy Perry (center) and parents. 
Since Sunday's Super Bowl, the halftime show—which included a Katy Perry performance—has gotten quite a bit of attention. Honestly, since Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" a few years ago, it seems the halftime show and commercials get more attention than the game, which is kind of sad and silly. (Confession: I'm not a huge football fan anyway, but focus on the sport, okay?)

Some might not be aware, but Katy Perry comes from an ostensibly Christian background. Her parents are described as coming out of the charismatic persuasion—Dad being an "end times preacher" and Mom being a "prophetess." I will leave aside my theological viewpoints on those issues and focus on a different matter where many Christian parents struggle: what to do when a child goes astray?

You can read up a bit on the situation through this 2013 Huffington Post article. If the parents indeed hold to any semblance of biblical mores, values and praxis, their daughter's behavior would indeed grieve them to the heart. I have to wonder if Katy ever gives that much consideration? But to evaluate all of that, you'd need a window INTO the hearts of all, and that we do not have. We do have behavior, and per 1 Corinthians 5, that is fair game when we're dealing with believers. Katy says she is not a believer, and I take her at face value. Does that mean that God is not working in her life, and that He will not eventually bring her to repentance? No, of course not. No one is beyond God's reach and His purpose will be accomplished.

There is a sobering point that Katy might consider. I am assuming that, growing up, she heard a clear presentation of the Gospel and knows the truth. Whether she accepts it now or not, she will be accountable before God and all the more so if she KNEW the truth and rejected it. That is a terrible, terrible position in which to be. There will be no finger-pointing and blaming someone else at the Judgment. You stand alone before God. Either you believe in and receive by faith what His Son Jesus did on the cross as atonement for your sin and trust your life to Him, or you reject Him and pay the price. God offers grace and mercy. Don't say you want "justice." Justice is precisely what NONE of us want, and outside of Christ, justice is exactly what will be administered if faith in Christ and His atoning sacrifice is refused.

For parents who are grieved at the lifestyle of a child who has for the moment rejected the Lord, all you can ultimately do is pray and love. It does not mean you have to approve or accept the sin. But be sure you retain some humility. Do not lapse into holier-than-thou judgmentalism. Jesus said "Judge with righteous judgment" and Scripture also says that it is proper to judge the behavior of professed believers. But those who are outside the household of faith, God judges. All we are responsible to do is to be ready for the opportunity to share the Gospel, and to tell what the Lord has done for us. Offer the invitation, and above all pray. Let the Holy Spirit do what only the Holy Spirit can do. I would say that is one huge mistake many of us make when we're trying to get an erring loved one to change course. We try to emulate the convicting power of the Holy Spirit but in the end all the person hears is self-righteousness. Only the Holy Spirit can truly convict the heart of sin and turn a heart toward Himself.

This doesn't mean we can't call sin what it is. We should. But we need to be forthright that we ourselves are sinners saved by grace—beggars who know where the bread is. Yes, there is a place for the thunder of the small "p" prophet from the pulpit calling people as a whole to repentance. But one on one, gentle loving lifestyle witness and a word spoken "in season" is the best. Tell the truth, but make sure the love is seen in the truth. And so often, the love is what is so often absent. I am guilty as charged more often than I'd like. But I pray that I am growing in grace and upward to maturity—a vessel God can use for His glory and not a vessel that gets in His way.

Pray for Katy Perry and other troubled young people who have come from a Christian background. God only knows what turned them away, but pray that they will have their eyes opened and return to the One who paid a huge price for their redemption. There isn't much time left.

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