Masquerade

I don’t usually get involved in celebrity “who did this/that/or the other” stuff. Quite frankly I just don’t have the time, energy, or cable TV. But I feel compelled to address a current popular topic that’s swirling through the entertainment industry: Miley Cyrus and her VMA performance. All I have seen are brief clips and images from her eyebrow-raising routine and that’s all I need to see.

I’ll admit, I was tempted to tell John to watch it so we could make fun of her together — what a MESS, right? I mean, really.

But then I heard a quiet, familiar voice tell me, “I love her.”

It’s the same voice that said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

And I was immediately ashamed. Humbled again by the grace that just won’t quit.

Here I am, dreaming of one day serving women and teaching God’s Word and I’m standing with the crowds, giddy to throw my stone into the face of this lost and broken young woman.

She deserves it! Ugh! Nobody should have had to watch that trash! What a disaster!

The Pharisees thought so too.

I don’t approve of what Miley did or how she behaved — but I have no right to point a self-righteous finger in her face and accuse her of being gross.

You guys wanna know what’s gross? Deception. Lies. Satan. Greed. Selfishness. Jealousy. Bitterness. Discontentment. Lust. Hopelessness. All of those things were at play Sunday night as Miley performed on stage.

Sure, what we saw was a display of overwhelming self-confidence and rebellion. Amidst all of the flashing lights and long legs we all got the message, “F*** the world! I do what I want!”

But what happens when the paparazzi goes home, the janitor shuts off the lights, closes the door and the stage is left empty? There are no cameras recording. No faces reacting. It’s just quiet.

What if you could talk one-on-one with Miley then? Sit down next to her on that empty stage, look out on those empty chairs and listen to her. You might get the same self-made, “I’m a bad-a** who does whatever the h*** I want.” attitude, but it would probably sound a little small, maybe even uncertain.

Words spoken from behind a mask always sound a little cracked and plastic. And we’ve all spoken them.

In the moments where we appear the most brazen, we’re usually just scared out of our minds.

Somewhere along the way, bit by bit, Miley began to construct this mask. Hannah Montana was too prudish, too quaint. If Miley wanted to make a name for herself she was going to let go of everything that was safe and throw herself into the arms of the world with reckless abandon.

Miley trusted the world to get her what she thought she wanted — fame, power, “a name”. So the world told the beautiful, talented young girl from Nashville the same thing it has told thousands of other young women — take off her clothes, lick her lips, and be unforgettable.

Ahhh, you see Miley? People will remember you now. Even if some people hate you, they’ll remember you. Keep surprising them, Miley. Keep stripping and smacking and singing and sexing and you will get it. That feeling. You’ll have power over people, Miley. Isn’t that what you wanted? A reputation? Take it and GRAB it Miley! Oops! Looks like you’re gonna have to go one more step further to get it… oops… one more Miley… just one more step…

She isn’t the first to be praised, worshiped, idolized, mutilated, and spat out by this world. One day a goddess, the next day a bad joke. One day a role model, the next day “an example.”

I have no idea what it’s like to be famous, but I am an expert at being insecure. Every time I place my self-worth into the hands of the crowd I just say what people want to hear and do what they want me to do. Even if a part of me disagrees or protests, I stuff it down to elicit their applause. I perform for them, in a way. When people don’t like me or make fun of me I just shrug it off as no big thing, and am left with an aching, searching heart as I close my eyes each night. In those moments, I don’t really like myself. Maybe you can relate? Maybe Miley can too.

I also know that taking off a mask is always painful. It peels away every false sense of security we’ve mustered up. Every facade created from pride, anxiety, and self-determination begins to crumble, all the lies begin to contradict and decompose. If Miley is anything like me, she’ll probably frantically scramble to put it all back together again — desperate to be known but terrified to be exposed.

So instead of name-calling and finger-pointing, I’m gonna pray. That Miley’s agenda of rebellion is rudely interrupted by the God she sang for only a few years earlier. That He would be ruthless in His pursuit of her, relentless in removing all the layers of insecurity, addiction, and feigned indifference. While I know that it’s painful, that she’ll fight it and hate it — I know that God is able. He is in the business of welcoming prodigal sons home, redeeming the depraved heart, and rescuing lost sheep from their own folly. I know firsthand about Amazing Grace and I’m going to pray that Miley finds it and sings about it again.

Miley — you won’t read this blog post. But if you do, I want you to know you can stop fighting the world. You won’t win on your own, but He’s already done that for you. You can find hope again. You might lose everything, but that’s when you actually gain everything.

Lastly: I’m sorry I mocked you, Miley. I’m sorry for the hurtful thoughts about you that flashed through my mind that did nothing but stroke my own holier-than-thou ego. I’m sorry for how quickly and casually I labeled you and threw you out as a hopeless cause. The God we know doesn’t believe in hopeless causes… and He sent his Son to prove it. Please forgive my arrogance and my self-righteousness.

Praying for you, girl.

miley-cyrus

Photo credit: thewatershed.com/blog

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.

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8 thoughts on “Masquerade

  1. I totally agree with you here! So many people like to through stones in glass houses! In fact you cant go around pointing at her and saying that she is disgusting and she is a whore! How quickly a lot of those people forget there faults in life! I mean they might not be a superstar or what have you but, im sure they have made plenty of mistakes that would turn a few peoples heads! This unfortunately is a judgemental world and poor Miley has to face these people because she is in the spot light! I believe she did it to try and prove that she is a grown up and she can do what she wants to that she is not a. Hannah montana anymore! I mean this is my point of view! But, eberyone needs to think real hard before xasting their first stone in Mileys direction!

    • Hi Jenny, Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. It’s true that we all have enough mistakes of our own to negate any authority to cast stones at anyone else. We still do though, and I’m sure I’ll do it again and again in my lifetime. We’re imperfect people from start to finish! Our own daily dependence and need for God’s grace is simply a reminder that we are ALL works in progress this side of Heaven and apart from Christ, we have no hope or forgiveness. I’m not sure why Miley has made the decisions she has to get her where she is today, I can only pray that she is swiftly rescued from it and finds her peace, joy and purpose from the only One who can give it to her and to all of us — Jesus Christ. 🙂 Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

  2. thanks so much for this great blog, I wish there was a way you could post this letter to her personally as a fan and I believe after reading this she will rededicate her life to Jesus Christ. You are Blessed, Keep it Up!

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Daniel! God is able 🙂 Anyway He chooses to reach her is fine by me. The best thing we can do for her now is continue to pray.

      Thanks again for your encouragement!

  3. I think you can find lewd behavior offensive without being a Pharisee. It’s not as black and white as you make it seem. I was mortified by Miley’s performance not because I was judging her, but because children were watching and because quite frankly, Miley is basically still a kid and I found her self-degrading sexualization of herself heartbreaking. I also felt so sorry for her because she genuinely seemed to think she had an ounce of sex appeal when her performance looked contrived and foolish. What Miley did was make a fool of herself, sell out and disappoint a lot of fans. So, yes – I pray she will find the ability with the help of God to love herself enough to realize she is worth more and deserves better, but disliking her act and actions doesn’t make me any less of a Christian than you. In fact, as Christians we are called upon to admonish one another..like you just admonished those of us who were disgusted with Miley’s performance. Guess the stone throwing applies tomore than just the Miley “judgers”.

    • Hi Mary! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I totally agree with you that it’s OK to find the performance offensive, since it was vulgar in many ways. My intent on this post was not to say it was wrong to disapprove of her conduct but that it’s not our place, as followers of Christ, to join the millions of people who are calling Miley names like “trash/skank/whore” etc and that we should focus our efforts on praying for her and examining our own reactions to her and her performance — are they coming from a mindset of “holier than thou” superiority to her (Romans 12:3) or from genuine concern for Miley and for all the other celebrities who have lost themselves in a super-sexualized culture? We’re all lost without the Lord. ALL of us! And we used to walk as dead men/women apart from His saving grace (Ephesians 2:1) In regards to your comment “disliking her act and actions doesn’t make me any less a Christan than you” — again, I completely agree. If you’ll notice, earlier in the blog I stated “I don’t approve of what Miley did or how she behaved” — so you and I do agree on that point. This post was simply an examination of my own response to Miley and trying to think of how I could show Christ’s love to her. It’s impossible to be “more or less” of a Christian. You either are or you aren’t — you believe Jesus is who He says He is, or you don’t! I appreciate you sharing your thoughts, and I hope I was able to address your concerns.

  4. Quite frankly I just don’t have the time, energy. Looks like you found some. Get real, get honest and you might find that your not that special.

    • Hello Mandan! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. If you and I knew each other you would know that I do not normally get involved with celebrity life. This post (as explained in the first line) is not the norm for what I blog about but you are correct — I DID find the time and energy to address this instance. The remainder of the post tells you why. Also, you and I are strangers to each other. This means, you are not particularly special to me and I am not to you. Totally normal! I would guess, however, that there are people who find you very special and valuable, as is the case in my life. 🙂 It’s OK that you don’t think I’m “that special” and I’m not quite sure where you get the impression that I find myself to be “that special” after reading this post? However, I always find it to be a good idea to remind myself that, at the end of every day it really doesn’t matter who thinks I’m special or not because I am unconditionally loved, accepted, and valued by my Creator. The same is true for you! I hope you also come to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ if you haven’t already, it’s life-changing! Thanks again for commenting, even though it seems your words were said in anger or frustration… I appreciate you taking the time to say them anyway.

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