I love music and all of the arts. In fact, the creative gifts that God has given to mankind have the potential to move us, often, changing our moods. These gifts can be used for God’s great glory, or they can be used to further the kingdom of Satan. It’s our choice how they are used. By the way, in case you’re wondering where I’m going with this, I’m not going to bash American Idol.
You see, I enjoy watching American Idol. I enjoy the talent of each of the contestants, but (you know there’s always a but, isn’t there?) what breaks my heart is when I see someone laying his/her heart on the floor before the judges and the audience, only to be told that they don’t measure up. I hate to watch someone who has given his/her all be told in front of a live studio audience, not to mention the millions of viewers who have tuned in, that this was their worst performance so far.
Oh, I know what some of you are thinking, “Well, it is a singing competition…” Or maybe, “They have to expect that, when they go on the show…” I understand that, but does that make it right? Does it make it any easier for the contestant? Did anyone else feel as terrible as I did a couple of weeks ago, when the IDOL judges bashed Charlie Askew’s performance, while he struggled not to cry and to hold it together? That wasn’t entertainment to me. That was just plain hurtful and mean. Couldn’t anyone else see how fragile Charlie’s state of mind was? Was it truly necessary to rip him to shreds? I praise God for the compassion that Ryan Seacrest showed Charlie, in possibly averting a potentially more devastating situation…
And then there was last night with Lazaro Arbos. That absolutely broke my heart. I get it that this is a competition, and that losing stinks, but as I watched the judges critiquing Lazaro, I was again, very disturbed by Randy’s critique most of all, because while the others tried to offer constructive criticism, his was not, as you can see…
I think sometimes, in this world, people get so caught up in the drama and the competition, that we forget that the people we are critiquing are real live people, with real hopes and real dreams. We forget to look at their fragility, and see that while some may be strong enough to receive constructive criticism, no one wants to go onstage and be put down in front of millions of people. We forget that the talent each contestant has is his/her God-given gift, which is not for us to snatch away from him/her and smash into pieces. Sometimes, when we do that, we end up damaging that gift beyond repair, and while we are able to continue happily along our way, the person who so generously offered to share his/her gift with the world is now left holding a lot of broken and shattered pieces, with no idea how to put it all back together.
Therefore, my friends, who critique others, I would urge you to look at each person as individuals. Understand that some are more fragile than others, and don’t compare one person against another, because God created us all differently. My gifts are different than yours, and God gave them to me to accomplish something different from anyone else. I can’t and won’t try to measure myself by anyone else’s standards, because I can only be as much or as little as God has equipped me to be. I can’t try to conform myself to anyone else’s standards, because God created me and has called me to meet His standards.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.
When people go on these competitions, they have so many different people telling them what to wear, what to sing, and what to do, that many, who are so young and pliable, lose sight of who they are. They lose themselves in the glamour and glitz, and in the criticism’s of others, and those who are not as strong inevitably wind up being crushed and damaged — some for a lifetime. American Idol is not just about one’s singing ability. It’s as much about someone’s appearance as it is about his/her talent. It’s about what the American public wants, which is not necessarily talent…
My advice to people who are involved in competitions — whether they are singing, or sports, or dancing, or writing, or whatever, is to glorify God in all that you do, because He is the One who gives each of us our various gifts. Do you wonder why I write so much about Jesus, why even my fiction points to Him? It’s because I am so grateful for the gifts that He has given me, and I understand that He gave me those gifts so that I can glorify Him with them.
Sure, I check my stats like everyone else, but I don’t write according to that. You see, I’m well aware that while people may love what I’ve written one day, they may hate what I have to say on another day. I understand that, therefore, I choose to please God, who never changes, rather than man, who is fickle.
24 But Jesus didn’t trust them, because He knew what people were really like. 25 No one needed to tell Him about human nature.
I choose to please a God who does not compare me to anyone else. He knows all of my weaknesses, but He doesn’t condemn me in front of millions of others, for the sake of applause. I choose to live my life trying to please someone who loves me no matter what I do — and even when I totally screw things up, I don’t have to feel that I’m no longer worthy of His love.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. 39 Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As I close, I would just like to offer up this prayer for all who are involved in competitions, both judges and contestants…
Father, in Jesus’ name, please let men, women and children everywhere, who are involved in competitions know that every good gift they have is from You, and let them use those gifts to bring glory, honor and adulation to You and not themselves. Lord, I pray that those who judge others, would do so constructively, to help, rather than to crush the spirits of the competitors. I pray that You would fill every judge with truth, so that they would judge fairly, and truthfully, and also with compassion, so that they would speak the truth in love, rather than in condemnation. I pray that You would also fill judges everywhere with wisdom, so that they would offer constructive criticism, that would help the contestants to grow, rather than squelching their gifts.
In Jesus’ name, Lord, I also pray for contestants everywhere. Lord, make them aware that their talents are a gift from You for Your glory, and let them have the mindset to please you, rather than mankind, who is so fickle. Let them use their gifts for Your glory, so that people can see You working in them and through them. Lord, let them seek Your face, and give the competitors a knowledge of how You see them, so that they will confidently walk in Your Spirit and Your presence.
Father, I finally pray for Lazaro, and for Charlie specifically, because both young men deeply touched my heart. Lord, please reveal Yourself to each of those young men, and let them know how long and how wide, how high and how deep Your love for them is. Let them know who they are in You, and save them from destruction, Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Cheryl A. Showers