And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. – Acts 24:16
Journalistic integrity can be a brute to bear when covering a topic that you hold a very strong stance about. So when my lovely wife asked me what I thought about the ”Surviving R. Kelly” documentary the other day, I hesitated to comment. I hesitated largely in part because I had decided not to entertain (or be entertained by) it. But then, the writer and minister in me started getting stirred up and I knew that this article was about to begin writing itself– standing opposed to my own personal opinion as I attempt to provide a balanced approach to what offends my Christian values. Don’t get it twisted – this is not meant to defend R. Kelly, rather, to offend your sensibilities even as God often offends our minds to reveal our hearts.
So here we go. Christians are the best when it comes to diverting attention from ourselves as we point out our offense at other people’s problems we deem to be greater than our own. Simply put, via a meme I once read: “Don’t judge someone else just because their sin is different from yours.” Sin is sin is sin. There aren’t degrees to this. The varying distinctions come in with the level at which each of us is willing to expose our sinful habits. The more guarded a person is about their sin, the more judgmental they tend to be about someone else’s transgressions. Foregoing the omission of your own sins and embracing transparency is what is at the heart of any effective ministry. Foregoing the omission of your own sins and embracing transparency is what is at the heart of Matthew 7:1-2:
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
This does not say we shouldn’t judge; rather, it states that the extent to which we judge someone will be the extent to which we are judged. If we restore someone gently in correction and love (as God does for/to us), then when some of our dirty laundry hits the air, we will receive the same measure (see Galatians 6:1).
This does NOT mean give others a free pass or do not judge. The Bible itself even says that we will judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3)… so if we’re holding court for beings of light, how much more are we able to hold court for those who were made just a little lower than angels? Here’s the thing. We like giving folks like R. Kelly a free pass because, in fact, WE want a free pass for the things WE’RE keeping in the closet. We’re quick to accept alternative lifestyles in the name of tolerance so that our own rebellious nature will have a blind eye turned to it. This is not justice, though. This is not the righteousness of God. We should be voluntarily laying ourselves bare (being transparent) and repenting from the sin in our lives. When we do so and are restored by God, it will give us a better understanding of what it means to receive (and therefore GIVE) such grace and mercy. Jeremiah 10:24 shows us the proper heart to have when presented with an opportunity for correction:
O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.
– Jeremiah 10:24
Perhaps if we’re able to see the lust in our own eyes/lives and remove said beam, we’d be more prayerful about how to cast out the lustful speck in our brother R. Kelly’s eyes…. as opposed to copping his classics to support the vice he clearly has.
If you had the resources to support a vice (sinful lifestyle) in your life, would you be disciplined enough to do away with it or would we be hearing about YOUR issues plastered all over social media?
In closing, the person whose sinful habits I should be most offended by shouldn’t be the one with the biggest story being played out on the news; it ought to be the one whose sinful habits I have the most power to change. It ought to be me that I am most offended by just as it ought to be YOU that you are most offended by. SO… are you offended yet?
Reggie and Quiana Kee have known each other for over 20 years and were married in 2004. They were licensed to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in 2015 at the Kingdom Advancement Center in Elgin, Ill., where they currently reside. They have two children and are the co-founders of Ink Well Spoken and Manu Forti Ministries, which serve as the marketplace and faith-based programs for their motivational speaking initiatives.”