This is my response not to the death of Whitney Houston, but to the Body of Christ as we respond to the death of Whitney Houston. Not that anyone cares what I think, but Holy Spirit impressed on me if even one person is touched it is worth saying what He laid on my heart. I know…other people listen to Holy Spirit as well so I am not saying “Thus says the Lord…” I’m just saying my heart is heavy as I see, hear, and watch Christians come out of nowhere and start attacking each other when a celebrity dies. The Lord showed me what is on His heart; it is not where Whitney Houston is at this moment but where we are all at in this moment of time!
Whitney Houston dies and Christians arise and come to either attack or defend her even though her eternity has already been decided! Were they there to attack or defend her in life? Or even pray for her? Why do we suddenly speak up when it’s too late…when she has already met Jesus face to face and the decision is done… when we have no idea whether she had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or not. We have our opinions about her life and death but these are based solely on what is told to us, about the songs she sang, and if they moved us or not, how she was raised, or if she impacted our lives.
Christians would not be having the debates in support or against Whitney Houston if everyone “knew” by her fruit that Whitney not only knew Jesus when she died, but loved and followed Him in life. As “fans” of Whitney, people don’t know her personally, so the eruption of disputes between Christians about judgment and the like should simply not be happening. Suddenly, everyone has an opinion, feels they need to share it, and everyone is defensive about their own “take” on Whitney Houston’s fate.
The conversations about Whitney on Facebook are many and varied, most leading to attacks of one another, even within the body of Christ. In fact, I would say, the only people fighting ARE Christians. The rest of the world who loved and adored Whitney is simply grieving. The body of Christ is fighting, calling each other out, crying judgment, defending their own adoration of Whitney, and talking incessantly about the funeral, the pastor, the grandmother, and the “message”.
What saddens me is how many Christians attack other Christians while speaking boldly about how Whitney inspired them, how they adored her and her voice, without giving one thought to how they might have held her up as an idol. If we are willing to attack brothers and sisters in Christ to defend someone we didn’t really know, how can we not think we might be in dangerous territory?
The same thing happened when Elvis Presley died. It wasn’t as “public” then because of the lack of technology, but Christians fought about his eternity. I appreciate Facebook and the other means of communication we have available today, but seriously, it has also opened the door for Christians to sin that much more as we attack one another publicly! People, including believers, were so devastated when Elvis died they seemed almost paralyzed by grief, idolizing the man and his music, and fighting with each other about his salvation.
I was further shocked as Christians spoke of Whitney’s funeral because they couldn’t stop raving about it, and not just that, but about her eternity (which by the way, none of us know). The same people who can’t sit through thirty minutes of the Word of God being preached without falling asleep or going out to the bathroom can be enamored with a funeral for three hours. Sure… you might think if our church was like the one this funeral was at, we could hold people’s attention for three hours as well. And maybe you would be right. Then maybe we should all attend that church! The Word of God is the Word of God wherever it is preached. We simply need to make a choice to be enamored with Him!
Anyway, Whitney’s fate is decided, ours hasn’t been, and that of many others hasn’t. Yet, we want to debate whether Whitney is in heaven or is in hell. We want to attack other Christians who might not think she was saved because of her lifestyle rather than pray for them for passing judgment. We want to say the things that will make us all feel better like, “I’m sure she is sitting at the feet of Jesus at this very moment”, when the truth is, we don’t know, at least those of us “out here” don’t know.
I really know nothing about Whitney. I have “heard” drug use was an issue in her life. That doesn’t make her a bad person, just someone who made bad choices, like we all do. At the same time, knowing we make bad choices can also lead us to make bad choices in faith issues right? My point is that as Christians, we want to lead people to Christ where He can lead them to make good choices. We can’t simply ignore, excuse, or overlook people’s bad choices once they are gone, as though it doesn’t matter what we do in life. But if we do, then we should simply ignore or overlook all choices while living as well!
If, and that is a big if for me since I know nothing about Whitney Houston, but if, she struggled with drug abuse, and if it was a “factor” in her early death, we should be able to point that out without “passing judgment” on her. Again, if we can’t do that, then we should never suggest people struggle with drug abuse or die as a result. I hope you catch my point. If we can’t learn from people’s mistakes in death without fear of being called judgmental, then we shouldn’t learn from people’s mistakes in life either.
By the way, stating truth is not judgment. We are never to “pass” judgment on people, deciding their fate as a judge does in a court of law. But we can judge behavior, the fruit in people’s lives, call it sin if it is sin, so that it can be dealt with, repented of, and forgiven for that person’s sake and for Jesus’ sake! So though it is never our job to pass judgment on people and conclude they are saved or unsaved, it is our responsibility as Christians to judge what is going on in our world, and then pray.
So, no! Nobody should condemn Whitney to hell. But neither should we pacify ourselves saying she is in heaven if we don’t know. We should focus on the living and share with people the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ! Fruit matters! We need to get that message out! It is imperative while we live to tell the truth!
Jesus said in Matthew 7:20-23 “Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
The death of Whitney Houston has caused Christians to do exactly what Satan expects us to do; Come against one another! How sad that we so willingly step right into his trap and cause division. If you are one who is grieving the death of Whitney, grieve fully and freely in Christ. If you are one who is grieving the death of a loved one and feel angry that her death has gotten so much attention while the death of your loved one has gone unnoticed, grieve fully and freely. But for Jesus’ sake people, stop attacking one another! Pray for each other!
Check your motives! Why are you so defensive for someone you probably didn’t know personally? Could it be you idolized her a little too much? I have seen the poster of the military caskets with the quote “Whitney who?” and how offended people have got at the disrespect this shows Whitney. I personally don’t like the poster either but at the same time I understand and agree that our society idolizes, emphasizes, and magnifies the lives and deaths of celebrities over other people and how this makes some people feel But rather than attack these people right back, wouldn’t we do better to pray for them in their own hurt?
I have read how much Whitney impacted people’s lives and my mind immediately goes to how can we allow other people who we don’t even know in faith, impact our lives so much that we are willing to attack brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we disagree? Or we attack churches who protested Whitney’s funeral, publicly coming against them, getting people to side with us, instead of being busy doing the Father’s business. I do not agree with churches who protested her funeral or people who condemn Whitney based on drug usage or life choices, or what not. But better to go talk with them, write a letter to them, deal with them, and pray, then publicly bash them, doing to them what they are doing to Whitney!
I have heard Christians say, “I don’t want to be associated with other Christians who talk like that!” (whatever “that” means). Guess what folks? We are associated with those who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who believe the Bible is our sole authority in life, inerrant, infallible, and inspired, who believe Jesus is God, not just a prophet or good teacher, those who love Jesus and obey Him! So associate! That doesn’t mean we agree on everything but if we agree on the essential truths of Christianity, we better stop arguing and debating about all the non-essential truths, including coming against one another when a celebrity dies!
James 1:26-27 “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
What this means is even Christians reacting to those who have said things they don’t agree with about the death of Whitney Houston ought to bridle their tongues. We would all do well to get uproarious about defending Jesus in this world, not getting all out of sorts with each other about the death of a celebrity. And when I say defending Jesus, let’s present Him to the world as He is, not how we have made Him to be! He never overlooks sin in His love! He expects us to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. That my friends, includes idol worship, and arguing with each other about celebrities!
My thoughts and desires are those of Jesus; that all would be saved and come to the knowledge of truth, and I hope Whitney was among the saved. That being said, there are many pre-Christians that need to hear about Jesus, not see Christians validating sin by involving themselves in it; idol worship, slander, arguing, getting involved in idle chatter. It is a waste of time! Instead, let us pray, keep ourselves spotless and follow Jesus! Let’s respond to Him not each other!