Recently I was listening to a track by one of my favorite Christian artists. It's a song my daughter and I dance to around the kitchen on a regular basis. Then I had the great idea to see if this singer was going to be in concert anytime soon because I would love to hear him in person. Unfortunately when I googled his name instead of seeing upcoming concert venues I was accosted by link after link exposing his affair and the end of his marriage and ministry. I clicked on the first one because I refused to believe this was the same musician. The singer I knew wrote amazing ballads of his love for God and how evil is vanquished. After realizing with just a few clicks that this was definitely the same artist I kept reading to see if he was just caught in a compromising situation but not really guilty of an affair.
I wish I hadn't kept reading.
Instead of seeing that it was a misunderstanding or a one time thing I saw that this was an affair that involved a band members spouse AND it had lasted for 4 years. That means that he was deep in it during the time he wrote and performed the very song I love. Do you know what my first response was? I'm embarrassed to say I was angry. How could he?! He is standing up before hundreds of people proclaiming God and yet he was living a lie! How dare he?! I felt betrayed and like something I believed in was stolen from me.
I am such a hypocrite.
As always, right on the heels of me pointing out a sin in someone else's life God quickly turns the question around onto me. The scripture about a speck and a log comes to mind (Matt 7:5). Do I ever lead a double life? How many different ways do I deceive or put on a front that isn't true? I proclaim that Jesus is my Savior, my Redeemer, but do I live in a way that shows that? Do my thoughts reflect Godly things? Jesus talks in Matthew 5 about anger having the same judgement as murder and lusting after someone being the same as an affair. God challenged me to look deep within and ask myself, just like this artist, do my actions really back up the words of my mouth?
I had to spend time talking to God about my own failures to live according to the life He has called me to live.
Then God confronted me on the feelings of having something I believed in stolen away. What was I believing in anyway? Was I putting more stock in the writer of a song than the God that he was singing about? All of the things that the song says are true. Truth is Truth and all truth belongs to God. It doesn't matter who said it. Even the devil quoted scripture to Jesus and what he said was true. The person saying it doesn't matter because Truth is God's alone.
I believe that God began to give me compassion for this person. Think about the level of attack that must have been waged against him. He was at the front of the battle lines leading the charge against the enemy and was wounded greatly. Nothing excuses his giving into the temptation but I am sure that if he wasn't looking to God for refuge from every single temptation that was thrown in front of him he would be exhausted just from the volume of attacks he received. How easy it is for us to try to deal with attacks on our own strength and deceive ourselves into believing we can handle it. Then we are taken by surprise when we fall flat on our face into the trap laid out for us. I think about Billy Graham and how diligently he would work to make sure that he never stepped into a situation that would be a stumbling block for his ministry. What Godly wisdom and foresight. I have read stories about how he would have someone from his ministry team enter his hotel room before him so that if a woman or tabloid bait was there waiting for him he wouldn't step into the trap. He vowed to Ruth, his wife, that he would never be alone with another woman or ride in the car with one. Some people may think that is overkill but I respect and appreciate it.
In the end, I will keep listening and dancing to this song that I have come to love so much. However, instead of the carefree feeling I felt before when listening, now this song will serve to continually remind me that the devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8) and that I am called to live a life that matches the words that I speak. It is just like God to take the knowledge of the scandal that surrounds this song now and use it to create a deeper meaning and value in my life. I must always remember that if I talk about loving the Lord but I do not act with love, patience, gentleness, kindness, and self control when dealing with my daughter or husband than I am just as guilty of living a lie as anyone else.
Oh Lord, please give me such a love for You that it overflows into every single area of my life and invades every word I speak and every relationship and interaction I have. I want the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart to be pleasing to You.
With a Thankful Heart,