At the time I’m writing this post, everybody is talking about Kanye West. He’s just released his “Jesus is King” record and he’s speaking out about life, faith, God, and people are going nuts. Saturday Night Live is making fun of him, and many Christians are defending him. What is this world we’re living in?
I love what I’m hearing Kanye say. I love his commends about perfectionism. I love how he talks about how God wanted him to suffer so that others who suffer can have hope when they see what God is doing in his life. I love how he’s being open about his porn addiction.
Those are some of my thoughts.
It’s been interesting, encouraging, and entertaining to read and listen to everyone else’s thoughts about Kanye. I’ve never heard so many white people weigh in on a rap/hip-hop artist in my life!
Most of what I’ve read from Christians about Kanye is positive and hopeful. But probably the best descriptor of the majority of comments I’ve read is “cautiously optimistic.” Like, “I hope it turns out to be real,” or “Time will tell if he’s legitimate.” I’ve read LOTS of those.
It seems like people feel the need to qualify their praise about what’s going on in Kanye’s life, and I wonder why that is. Do we fear that if we affirm his message and then it doesn’t seem to last, that we’ll look foolish for having believed it was genuine? Do we just not trust Kanye, but not wanting to miss out on the conversation we put our thoughts out there with a disclaimer? Maybe there’s not a ton of thought going into many people’s weigh-ins.
Of course I’m not sure what motivates anyone, because I can’t know what’s going on in another person’s heart. But I have one thought related to Kanye (but not JUST to Kanye)…
It doesn’t matter what YOU or I think about Kanye.
In 1 Corinthians 4:1-5, this is what Paul writes…
“This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.”
Kanye West is professing to be a servant of Christ. That means he’s been given a trust, just like every servant of Christ. With that trust comes a requirement from God…be faithful with that message. I think this is what drives a lot of people’s cautious optimism with Kanye. We just don’t know whether time will prove him to be genuine or consistent with the message he’s proclaiming.
But the next verse is the one I love, because in it Paul talks a lot like the way Kanye talks. “I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court…”
The Message puts it this way: “It matters very little to me what you think of me, even less where I rank in popular opinion.”
That’s so Kanye. In his interview with James Corden, he said, “I made it this far by NOT listening to anybody.” But before that sentiment was so Kanye, it was so Paul.
Here’s the cool part (to me). Now Paul says, “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent.” Which means…
It also doesn’t matter what KANYE thinks about Kanye.
What Paul is saying here is that even if I completely believe my motives are pure, I can’t trust that with absolute certainty. There are so many things in life that influence how we see things. Experiences, trauma, messages we receive from other people, the way the Word of God was taught to us (either positively or negatively). Do any of us ever really know…100%…for absolutely sure…that our motives are completely pure?
I don’t know that we can, but I also don’t know that we’re put in a position where we have to. Because there is someone who knows our heart better than we do, and who alone can be trusted to make judgments on what we do and why we do it.
Paul tells us: “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.”
The only One whose opinion on Kanye really matters is God.
What is God’s opinion of Kanye? God deeply loves Kanye. God sacrificed His Son Jesus so that Kanye could be a new creation. God has given Kanye a heart to share the good news of Jesus with others. God understands that Kanye is a flawed, imperfect, and inconsistent “jar of clay,” just like the rest of us. And He uses that exact fact to remind everyone that the good news isn’t about Kanye. It isn’t about any of us. It’s about Him. Our being imperfect and yet forgiven reminds everyone of the perfect God we serve.
I’m glad it doesn’t matter what I think about Kanye. Having said that, I’ve very excited about what I see in his life. I’m very encouraged at what I see God doing in and through him. But I know my praise for Kanye shouldn’t mean anything. The only one whose opinion matters is the One who knows Kanye the best.
And by the way, in case you missed it, that’s true for ALL of us.
Greg Oliver was a worship pastor for 15 years before his secret addiction to pornography and sex was exposed in 2009. Since then he has been on a journey of recovery, coming to know God better and experiencing His grace like never before. He and his wife Stacey have experienced deep healing & restoration within their marriage, and through the ministry of Awaken they walk with individuals, couples, and ministry leaders to help them experience connection and healing in the midst of sexual brokenness. Greg & Stacey are available for recovery coaching, for individuals or couples. For more information visit our Coaching page, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!