God encourages us to love all, despite color or occupation or class. He says to love our “neighbor.”
In our interpretation of the Bible. very few would argue that a “neighbor” doesn’t need to literally live next to you.
But for some reason, we aim to love our neighbors all over the world, but we neglect to intentionally honor one specific group:
How do you talk about your neighbor?
Now, how do you talk about celebrities?
There are successful businesses run on berating and gossiping about these neighbors. When you go and buy food to nourish your body and feed your family, the one entertainment source that is available at check out is one that takes pride in slandering these people (and being the FIRST to do so)
And whats worse- we justify reading about them and gossiping about them. We say that they did it to themselves because thats the business they’ve entered…as if the desire to act and sing automatically qualify them for a life of slander and pressure.
We also like to point out that they are role models for children. We say they should be upstanding citizens because they are teaching children what is cool. And then when Disney stars star smoking pot, we express complete disappointment in them and call them “idiots” or we say “oh, I hate her.”
My beloved sisters and brothers in Christ:
Do we say the same things about the cool kids at high school? Do we, as adults, go talking around town about how 17-year-old Billy started dating Sophie and how she is ‘totally not pretty enough’. Gosh, I hope not. And I don’t think we do.
So why do we justify this with people who like singing or dancing or have nice instagrams (or whatever people get famous for)?
I think we have to look in ourselves for this answer. I think many feel like so many people adore them, so they deserve to be evened-out a bit. When people get excited about buying Justin Beiber tickets, someone will say “ew, no, i don’t like him. He’s awful.” We slander people that we feel get ‘too much’ praise that we don’t agree with. But this is a terribly unhealthy habit. We do not need to ‘even out’ the perception of anyone, in our neighborhoods, or in the broader world. We can say that we wouldn’t act identically to celebrities- to children and influenceable people….just as we do about bullies at a high school and the ‘cool’ kids doing pot. We don’ need to slander or berate (or in fact say anything about them that we wouldn’t say to their faces).
If anything, the behavior that is sending a LOUD and clear message to children… is our gossip and our hatred. Are we sure we want to teach children that THIS is how we treat neighbors? Because, though they may live far away in Beverly Hills, they are children of their parents and children of God.
Rather, we should be minding our own business. We don’t like how a celebrity leads their life? Great…it is OUR job not to follow them. They aren’t making anyone follow them. If you are nervous about kids being impressionable, be proactive in denouncing the celebrity’s behavior…but you don’t need to berate the PERSON. Its sending the message that hate is the answer when we look to protect ourselves and others.
The answer is love and guidance. We do not need to follow famous people. We can recognize these neighbors for who they are: people. Why are we in the business of idolizing/slandering people to begin with?
Instead- though you cannot control their actions, you can control yours. We can watch how we talk about people, including celebrities. We can watch our tongues, and whats more: pray for them. We can speak about them the way we would want someone to speak about our family. Finally, we can resist the social change that a famous person may be encouraging NOT by insulting them…but by being stern against the unideal social change.
Let’s pray for them and rebuke drinking, premarital sex, drugs, etc… but lets not lower ourselves and gossip and slander, for any reason.