A Cure for Their Achy Breaky Hearts- A Christian’s Response to Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus

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A Cure for Their Achy Breaky Hearts- A Christian’s Response to Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus

I want you to close your eyes and imagine that your entire teen and early adult years were photographed, recorded and videotaped and then posted all over the internet and news. And I don’t mean the “scrapbook” version of your life. All of it! That’s a chilling thought for most of us. But that is the life of a young Hollywood celebrity. Every move, choice and word etched into posterity. What , for the average person, is usually left in the shadows of whispered rumors and teenage memories, laid bare to the world. It’s a scenario almost as predictable as the sunrise; a young person, full of talent, charisma and promise, signs a deal with fame. They might as well have signed a deal with the devil, because his forces are what they’re up against. They have a great run. They enjoy the sweet liquor of fame and while they’re too intoxicated by celebrity to notice, the very people who launched them into the stratosphere promptly shoot them out of the sky and host a party to watch them burn. Yesterday I finally sat down to read the recent GQ Interview with Billy Ray Cyrus. I was deeply saddened by it. It’s a story of a family in crisis. A series of choices to elevate fame that led to the complete breakdown of this family. A father, scared to death for the path his daughter seems headed down, in hindsight would take it all back. Referring to the Hannah Montana show, Billy Ray Cyrus tells GQ Magazine, “I’d take it back in a second. For my family to be here and just be everybody okay, safe and sound and happy and normal, would have been fantastic. Heck, yeah. I’d erase it all in a second if I could.” Don’t we all have things we wish we could take back? Don’t we all have these snapshots in our minds of moments we wish we could erase? Of course. But somehow, because we see celebrities lives played out in the news, on TV and all over the web, we seem to think that they are pseudo- people. We wag our finger at them and hold them up as this example of how not to live our lives. Because we see them as fake people, we feel we have a right to issue cold, curt responses to them. And I’m sorry to say, many times it is us Christians whose fingers are moving the fastest. But, they’re real people with real lives. When we look at celebrities, we ought to feel like we’re looking in the mirror. We ought to see our own brokenness reflected in their highly publicized mistakes. After all, that’s all any of us really are: broken people in need of redemption. The only advantage that Christians have is that we are forgiven, broken people. Apart from Christ we’re shot. When it comes to responding to the crisis of celebrities and their family woes, it’s too easy to give swift, sound bite-style judgment. And believe me, I’ve been tempted to do the same. So, here’s a few questions I pose to you and me. How should Christians respond to situations like we see playing out in the Cyrus family? What should our default response be? I know some will say that we need to stand for the truth and morality. Some will say that if we don’t point out the folly of pursuing fame, of placing career over family and of enabling bad behavior from our kids, then who will? And those arguments will be very convincing. But I wonder if while standing for truth and morality, we ought to look at Christs’ example. After all, He hung out with those in crisis all the time.  When people came to Jesus, or even had chance encounters with Him, He opened his arms and embraced them in their brokenness. You don’t have to turn too many pages into the New Testament before you see Jesus starting to gather the broken sheep: prostitutes, tax collectors, adulteresses, and swindlers. All it took was the loving presence of Christ for these sinners to realize their depravity and turn to Grace. And ironically, the only people that Jesus confronted with judgment were the ones who had enough righteous indignation to fill the tabernacle to the brim. It was the Pharisees whom Jesus rebuked. So perhaps this is a good reminder to all of us. When broken people act broken, we should confront them with God’s love and compassion. After all, that’s the Gospel-constantly spackling over the pitted walls of our humanity with the putty of Grace. So that brings us back to our response to the Cyrus’ Achy Breaky family life. Who will answer folly and sin with love and compassion… if not us? Billy Ray and Miley, if you ever read this, come back to Jesus. It’s not too late. He already knows everything you regret. He’s already forgiven you. Come receive His forgiveness and be healed. I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

© Karis Kimmel Murray, 2011

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