A Conversation about Michael Jackson and the Gospel of Jesus Christ


I posted on my Facebook profile a video of Michael Jackson performing MAN IN THE MIRROR which I assume is the title of the song. The lyrics include, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror…” and “I’m going to make a change.” I made a comment about Mr. Jackson making white socks look “rockin’ cool.”

The following is a conversation that ensued:

J.P.F. – “Yea, the little boys loved him and he loved and lusted after them.”

Carley (i.e. me) “Well what a nice thing to say… I was just commenting on his white socks…”

J.P.F. “Yea, it sure was not nice of him to molest all those boys. Just guessing but I don’t believe he is resting in peace. I’m just shocked is all that a professed Christian would post a positive comment of a pedophile. I assume you are against pedophilia and believe it is an obombination against God?” ( Notice Obambination )

Carley (me) “I wasn’t thinking of that when I posted this; I was only thinking of the meaning of the song and that his white socks would look stupid on anyone else. That’s all. I was making NO JUDGMENTS as I leave that to God. After all, the song says, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.” That’s what I do — I judge myself and not others… if at all possible!”

J.P.F. “God has already judged homosexuality to be wrong. Agreeing with God is not US making the judgement.”

Carley (me) “God thinks a lot of things we do are WRONG; it’s okay to agree with God, of course. But we don’t have to stick other people’s noses in it. God is much better at that than we ever will be. We are to proclaim the GOOD NEWS; i.e. Why are you so obsessed with other people’s sins? Why don’t you just look in the mirror like Michael Jackson suggested he should do? Start with the “man in the mirror.” Change him. Take the PLANK from your eye to see the SPECK in my eye, dude.”

J.P.F. “You won’t stand against sin and stand on the side of God? OK I think the Bible clearly teaches we are His mouth peace and the Gospel is not just hHeaven as a promise but that sins nailed Jesus to the cross. We should agree with God and HATE sin. “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” 1 Timothy 5:20″

Carley (me) “You can hate sin without hating the sinner or belittling him or her. You can stand with GOD who is LOVE and recognize that He forgives and that MERCY TRIUMPHS OVER JUDGMENT (James 2:13). I can throw out verses, too. But GOD is the ultimate judge and I trust Him.”

J.P.F. “I don’t hate Michael Jackson. I also don’t promote how wonderful he was or what cool clothes or comment on his dancing. I simply stay clear. From what I can see he was NOT a friend of God and I certainly do not want to be disloyal.”

Carley (me) “Well that’s fine. Of course. I just didn’t think of his sins when I posted this; I just thought about his song which I happen to like. Take good care of yourself. And God bless. PS My point here at this juncture is to suggest that our sins do not disqualify us from doing valuable things with our lives. We are ALL sinners and we ALL fail, but we also have things to offer to other human beings. If that is not true, what’s the point of being here on earth at all?! Your position seems to be that if you commit a murder let’s say you will never do anything that is GOOD — I don’t happen to believe that is true. God says, “Go, and sin no more.” He says, “You are forgiven.” That is worth celebrating. Love always wins. Don’t you remember the man who prayed to GOD, “Thank you God that I am not like that sinner over there.” And God said, “At least that sinner over there has his head down in shame. I tell you, he is the one who is justified, not the one who thinks he is already justified.” You need to re-read the GOSPEL, Mr. F.”

J.P.F. — I believe if someone commits murder they can never do any good? Wow, where did you get that in anything I ever said? I happen to be a wicked, miserable, no good sinner that has been forgiven, not by my own doings but by the Grace and Mercy of God. I need Him now as much as the night I got Saved. There is still nothing good in me but God.”

Carley (me) “Well that’s something I agree with, Mr. F. I too am a miserable sinner saved by grace. Perhaps Mr. Jackson was saved, too — perhaps in the moment of his death, or perhaps at another time that you and I are unaware of. Let us not judge him; let’s just hope he met his maker with a clear conscience. If he didn’t, that’s not our problem (now), but his. God bless.”

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“Love, Don’t Talk” (1 John 3:18 HCSB) by Carley Evans


Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

My little sons, love we not in word, neither in tongue, but in work and truth. (Wycliffe)

But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? (King James Version)

Jesus says exactly the same thing as His disciple says. Jesus says that the least kindness you show to the least is a kindness you show to Him – if you visit the prisoner, you visit Jesus. If you feed the homeless man, you feed Jesus. If you adopt the orphan, you adopt our Lord. And so on.

If we talk love but never show love, then the love of God is not in us. Worse, if we talk love and show hate, then our spirit is not of the Holy Spirit but of our own corrupted nature. We are like pigs remaining in our own mud and corn husks.

God calls us to love in action, not in talk.

“God Loves Doom?” ( Psalm 33:4-5 WYC ) by Carley Evans


In one of his many songs, David proclaims – at least in the Wycliffe translation of the Word – that God “loveth mercy and doom.” In parenthesis, the translator adds an alternative version: “[God] loveth righteousness and justice.”

On one hand, “mercy”; on the other “righteousness.” On one hand, “doom”; on the other hand “justice.” Even in the final phrase, on one hand, “mercy”; on the other “love.”

For the word of the Lord is rightful (For the word of the Lord is true); and all his works be (done) in faithfulness. He loveth mercy and doom; the earth is full of the mercy of the Lord. (He loveth righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the love of the Lord.)

Imagine God loving “doom.”

If you look around at the state of the world at large, God loving doom is not hard to imagine. Listen to the evening news and doom is all around you – earthquakes, erupting volcanos, tsunamis, rising sea levels, erratic weather patterns, droughts, fires. And this doom does not yet include what people do to you ( or what you do to people… )!

So, where’s the evidence that God loves mercy?

The evidence for God’s mercy is less compelling, you might say. But, I would argue the evidence of God’s mercy is the doom inflicted and endured by Him on the Cross. “All [God’s] works be done in faithfulness.”

 

“The One and Only Golden Rule” ( Matthew 7:12 WYC ) by Carley Evans


Therefore all things, whatever things ye will that men do to you, [and] do ye to them, for this is the law and the prophets.

Almost every person – at least every person who grew up in the Western world – knows this saying of Jesus. Jesus says, “If you want it done to (or for) you, then by all means be sure you do it for (or to) others.”

Don’t be spewing hate at other people if you don’t like hate spewed at you. Don’t throw rocks at dogs if you don’t want dogs to bite you. Don’t drop a nuclear weapon on your enemy if you don’t want a nuclear weapon dropped on your neighborhood. Don’t steal from your government if you don’t want your government to steal from you. Don’t cheat on your spouse if you don’t want your spouse to cheat on you. Don’t whisper and gossip about poor Mrs. Jones down the block if you don’t want Mrs. Jones to whisper and gossip about you.

And so on.

Except Jesus says one more thing. He says that the so-called Golden Rule is the sum – the whole – of the Law and the Prophets. The Golden Rule is the whole shebang.

Yes, yes! I hear you. The first part is critical to the second part – Jesus says to love the Lord your God with your all, with everything you have, everything you are. But He also reminds that if you do not love the one you see next door, how can you possibly love the One you can not see!

Looking From the Outside ( by Carley Evans )


Looking From the Outside

Let’s think for a moment about Saul, a persecutor and murderer of Christians, a dyed in the wool enemy of Jesus Christ. Now, why do you suppose God picked Saul? What was particularly attractive about this man? His willingness to be extreme? Maybe. For the task God gives to Saul, I think his zealousness is a good trait. Saul is also smart and knowledgeable about God’s Law, His Word. That had to be attractive to God. Yes? Maybe. But what of Saul’s hatred of the Father’s Son? How could that be attractive to God the Father? Or to God the Holy Spirit? Saul’s hatred of the Son of God had to be offensive to the Godhead!

So, why does Jesus appear to Saul on the road to Damascus?

Doesn’t it indicate God knows Saul’s heart? God knows what anyone looking from the outside could not possibly see – that Saul is ready to become Paul, the great Apostle of Jesus Christ first for the Jews then for the Gentiles.

Next time you start to judge another, stop and think about how you would have judged Paul.

“The One Who Remains in Love” (1 John 4:16, HCSB) by Carley Evans


Real love, genuine agape love is unconditional, period. If you doubt this truth, re-read Paul in his first letter to the church at Corinth. He boldly tells the church – a church battling crippling sins – that “love is kind” and “keeps no record of wrongs.”

And in his first letter, John writes:

And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.

John doesn’t write, “The one who remains in God remains in love.” Rather, he turns it on its heels and states emphatically that “the one who remains in love remains in God.” You cannot hate people who you are able to see and touch while you claim to love God. You can not refuse to forgive others while expecting God to forgive you. Frankly love and hate are like oil and water – incompatible in the mix.

You can not be a Christian and hate people.

“Stop Fighting” ( Ephesians 4: 1-3, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Today, writing from prison, I think Paul might be emphatic. He might scribble ( ‘see, I write these words in my own hand’ ): “Stop fighting!” before he explains why Christians should not bicker. Paul does write gently here; and a bit later in his letter to the church at Ephesus, he begs his fellow believers to “speak the truth in love.” But, here he implores them (“I urge you”) to “accept one another in love.”

4 Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love,diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.

Paul calls Christians to humility, gentleness, patience, acceptance ( tolerance! ) all of which lead to unity and “the peace that binds us.”

So how do Christians who disagree stop fighting? What is “speaking the truth in love?”

Examples (from a written social network debate) of “truth speaking”:

Person #1: “Heretic warning”  then boldly typed N-A-M-E of heretic. Then, “BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.”

Person #2: “Beware that the good presentation you give is not clouded by pride.”

Which spoken truth do you think Paul prefers? And, more importantly, which statement sounds more like God, the Holy Spirit?