Last night I tuned in to the Golden Globes. In speech after speech, actors and singers reiterated the mantra of this year’s theme: “Time’s Up” on the sexual exploitation of women. They wore black. They wore pins. They declared war on depravity.
Oh, how I wish it were so easy.
These celebrities are absolutely right to say that what has taken place, and — don’t be fooled — continues to take place involving the abuse of women must end. Surely we all agree on this. However, they are left scratching their heads as to how this monumental eradication of evil is to be achieved. So they do what we all tend to do, especially as a new year begins. They create external moralistic (and simplistic) acts they can do which they believe will change everything. In this case, they wear a certain color and a lapel pin. They pat themselves and one another on the back for being so very far above such wickedness, while shunning and shaming those who have been found to be in violation of their standard (Weinstein, Spacey, etc). Easy. Too easy. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Here’s what we know from Scripture. Like all sin, the atrocious treatment of women is the fruit of hearts which are far from God. Proverbs 4:23 tells us that everything we do flows from our hearts. That is very bad news in light of what the prophet Jeremiah reveals to us: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (17:9, ESV)
This is precisely why Hollywood celebrities are able to bestow praise and applause to a movie which features an adult man grooming and seducing a boy into having a physical relationship as they simultaneously shame Kevin Spacey for having, as an adult man, groomed and seduced boys into having physical relationships. The irony should not escape them, but it does, for their hearts are deceitful above all things, and desperately sick….and so are all of ours. The Hollywood dilemma is not unique. It is simply more public.
Problem number one, celebrities, is that when addressing sin, we must start by admitting that it dwells inside of us, not outside of us. And there simply isn’t enough black fabric in the world with which to wrap ourselves to make it go away. We have but one solution, only One who can free us of our sin, and that is Jesus Christ, who came and bore our sins on the Cross in order to do so (John 3:16-17). He conquered sin and the grave, that through faith in Him, we would not have to be enslaved any longer to sin (Romans 6:6).
Problem number two, celebrities, is directly related to the first. As you establish your ever-changing moral code there in Hollywood and sit in retroactive, self-righteous judgment against those who have failed to live up to it, you must remember that your anger will have no effect. Zero. James 1:20 assures us that “man’s anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” Only a heart transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ can turn away from sin. There is no other way. The change you desire does not happen in one fell swoop, but rather in one heart at a time, as people are introduced to Jesus and by faith receive the Gospel. At least for now. When Jesus returns to earth, we know that there will be a fell swoop. We see in 2 Thessalonians 1 that when Jesus comes to judge the earth, He will pour out His wrath upon the wicked, putting an end to sin. Unlike ourselves, He is qualified to do so. This is the moment of the global Time’s Up. And all of us, even Oprah herself, should tremble. We won’t be compared to Spacey or Weinstein. We will be compared to the holy and sinless Savior of the world. Only those who are in Him will be safe (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
Finally, celebrities, who like me tend to overlook the hypocrisy that lives inside you, I would appeal to you to turn to Jesus. In Mark 1:2 Jesus says, “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.” Time can be up for you this very day through this act alone. Repent and believe. This is the way of salvation.