I must admit that I do not watch the Video Music Awards. I never have and, quite frankly, probably never will. Many, however, do. One needs not watch the Video Music Awards to know of the controversy surrounding one or more of the performances due to the media and internet outlets. It seems that every year the Video Music Awards (henceforth called VMAs) produces some ludicrous or audacious event that takes the nation by storm. One year, the nation was a buzz due to the comments made by Kanye West during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech. Another VMA was focused around a controversial kiss between Madonna and Britney Spears. This year’s controversy is centered around Miley Cyrus’ apparent racy performance. Many are left wondering, is this the same young woman who portrayed Disney’s “Hannah Montana” character? From what little I have seen, it seems like this is a far different young woman from the one who portrayed the Disney pop star.
Many Christians will respond with judgment towards Miley Cyrus. Yes the performance appeared to be crude and illicit. This was even evidenced by the expressions found on the faces of Will Smith and his family. However, I suggest that Christians take a different approach in response to Cyrus’ performance. It is apparent that Cyrus is taking the same pathway preceded her by the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Anna Nicole Smith, and Britney Spears. The problem is that this pathway leads to certain destruction. Some may be able to bounce back, but most do not. The Christian needs to take the following responses:
Pray For Cyrus’ Repentance
Repentance can be viewed as a heavy word. Some even see judgmental connotations connected to the word. However, that need not be the case. One of the first steps in recovery of alcoholism is the acceptance that one has a problem. It is the same with anything in life. The message of the prophets can be seen as harsh and caustic, but it was actually given out of a loving heart. A person going down a destructive path does not have to continue on the pathway. As Ezekiel proclaimed, “Son of man, give your people this message: The righteous behavior of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin, nor will the wicked behavior of wicked people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins. When I tell righteous people that they will live, but then they sin, expecting their past righteousness to save them, then none of their righteous acts will be remembered. I will destroy them for their sins. And suppose I tell some wicked people that they will surely die, but then they turn from their sins and do what is just and right” (Ezekiel 33:12-14, NLT). Therefore, the Christian needs to pray that Miley Cyrus’ eyes will be opened to the fact that she is heading down a bad pathway that will lead to the same results of those who have preceded her in traveling down the same road. My prayer is that Cyrus will change soon for her own well-being and the well-being of her loved ones.
Pray for Cyrus’ Emptiness
One who seeks the approval of others will do anything for that approval. I think this is what occurred at the VMAs. Cyrus is under the impression that performing in crude and illicit fashions will bring her the approval of her peers and of the fans. Her behavior has in fact given her an abundance of attention. However, at the heart of this mentality is an emptiness. Terry Muck writes, “The sexually seductive counselee needs help. She can be helped by the counselor who understands that her seductiveness is not just a “sin problem” but evidence of being terribly unsure of herself. She doesn’t feel like a whole woman, and the only way she knows how to relate to men is sexually” (Muck 1989, 169). It seems that this may be the problem not only of Cyrus, but of Lohan and others. The problem is that the entertainment industry is sexually-driven to the point that attractive women who struggle with emotional issues are easy prey. I do not feel that these women are necessarily bad women. I think that they have been victimized by the combination of internal struggles and external predation. Unfortunately, no massive amount of wealth thrown at them will fill the emptiness in their lives. In fact, the wealth only fuels the fires even more. Only the presence of God will give purpose and meaning to one’s life. Cyrus, who claims to be a Christian, may only need to be reminded of her purpose in God. If in fact Cyrus has at one point entered into a relationship with God through Christ, her chances of recovery may be stronger than most.
Pray for Cyrus’ Well-Being
The Christian needs to pray for Cyrus’ well-being. While living the prodigal lifestyle, one needs to pray that Cyrus does not make too many decisions that she will regret. More importantly, the Christian needs to pray that she does not do anything that will harm herself in ways that will haunt her for the remainder of her earthly life. Cyrus is sowing her “wild oats.” But, we must not lose the compassion for her soul. As Jesus reminds us, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:34-35, NLT). So, let us pray for Cyrus during this difficult time in her life.
It is easy for a person to condemn another, but it is more important to love others. Love is one of the central themes of the Bible. Many Christians will see Cyrus’ performance and scoff. Yes it is true that her performance was unnecessarily scandalous and racy. But, we must remember that a person’s actions shows a lot about the person’s heart. Her heart is hurting. We need to remember that. In addition, we need to remember that if it were not for the grace of God, we might be involved in the same type of behavior. Christians should be the most humble people in the world. Paul writes, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8, NLT). In other words, the Christian is set free by the grace of God, not by one’s works. Remember this fact and you might find that you are less likely to judge another.
Praying for Miley Cyrus’ well-being and others caught in the same trap,
All Scripture, unless otherwise noted, comes from Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation, 3rd ed. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2007.
Muck, Terry C. Sins of the Body: Ministry in a Sexual Society, vol. 19, The Leadership Library. Carol Stream, IL: Christianity Today, 1989.