The Bible calls him, “the adversary”, “lord of the flies”, “a snake” and, “the ruler of this world”. But Grammy winner Chris Brown calls him, “the f*king devil”.
“When u tired of the f*king devil ruining your life and u hear God speak for the first time. No one knows what I deal with on a day to day. The average man wouldn’t hesitate to blow his f*king brains out but that’s the cowards way out… Most won’t understand the genius and beauty in change and learning and the people who have devilish intentions will win in the short term. My soul will always be pure of heart.
What’s on the surface always looks like one big party but inside there is a little boy looking for help and guidance. People say “be a man”. Yeah, that’s right but it doesn’t take away any pain you really go through. I just wanna stay out the way and do music. Most importantly and great father. I don’t have any more patience for anything that will cause me to self destruct!!”
This is intense and raw. Not great for Sunday mornings. It’s all about Satan’s work, curse words, thoughts of suicide and a little boy who’s looking for help.
However, I want to focus on the fact that (according to Brown) he heard the voice of God for the first time.
Because I remember the first time I heard it too. That’s when everything changed.
Christopher Maurice Brown was born and raised in Tappahannock, Virginia. A recording artist, dancer, actor and self-proclaimed born-again Christian who started singing at his church choir.
When discussing his upbringing, Brown stated: “We were used to two pairs of shoes for a school year. We used to go to church every day. I was one of those kids that had more church clothes than school clothes.”
He has also discussed when, “he experienced the Holy Ghost while performing ‘His Eye Is On The Sparrow’ in church”. And after being released from jail on June 2014, Brown wrote that he was “Humbled and Blessed” and tweeted the words, “Thank you GOD.”
At a young age Chris’ parents divorced, and his mother’s boyfriend terrified him by subjecting her to domestic violence.
Yet somehow (as it happens with many of us) Chris ended up behaving like the man he hated most.
In 2009, Brown received much media attention after pleading guilty to felony assault of his then-girlfriend, singer Rihanna; he was sentenced to five years of probation and six months of community service
“I am seeking the counseling of my pastor, my mother and other loved ones and I am committed, with God’s help, to emerging a better person.”
Back then he was broken, exposed, guilty and full of shame. He did a terrible thing. I know how that feels.
Yet there is nothing like the voice of God to comfort and restore.
And this week Chris claims he heard that voice. He did not say what God told him. He shares no insight on the experience. He only claims emphatically that something has happened and that he’s open for more.
The cynical in me wants to focus on his ridiculous lyrics, his record of violence and all the terrible things I’ve read about him while passing the gossip magazines at the Target checkout.
But with all of my heart, I believe for more.
I’m sure that God loves that angry little boy who’s done with the devil. And I’m sure God still speaks to other people like Chris. Yes I’m sure… because He still speaks to me.
“Christianity is not about good people getting better. If anything, it is good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good.” -Tullian Tchividjian in Jesus + Nothing = Everything
Back when Katy Perry said that God spoke to her during her half-time Superbowl performance, I wrote, “Maybe it was her own mind who made it up. Maybe it was the devil tricking her. Or maybe it was God. Because maybe (just maybe) He still speaks to those who are broken and afraid. Maybe God is still a father, and maybe He still likes to encourage. People will say that it is impossible for God to be nice to Katy Perry right before she was about to sing “I kissed a girl and I liked it” in front of millions of people. But if God refrained from speaking to humans based on the proximity of their sin, trust me friend, no one would ever get to hear His voice.” (Read more: When God Speaks to Katy Perry)
We are all listening to a voice. We are all being fathered by someone. We are all getting our identities from somewhere.
According to Jesus, it is either God His Father (now God Our Father) or its the devil.
Yes, the devil.
The first orphan. The one who was kicked out of heaven. The one who rules in the place God created for iniquity. The one who became our tempter and enemy.
Jesus said, “Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
This is Jesus explaining to religious leaders, that their inability to hear his words implied submission to another voice.
When we are unable to listen to the love and kindness of Jesus, we get our fathering from somewhere else. Specifically, the first orphan. Who is now supremely the Orphan Maker.
He’s the voice that says that you don’t matter. That you are alone. That you will always be __________ (stupid, angry, ugly, addicted).
And like Chris Brown, we should be done with him.
This father of lies is trying to hold us back from the fullness of God’s love. He will lie to us about how good and forgiving and welcoming God really is. He will make God sound angry and distant and religious.
But God is none of those things.
He’s actually a kind Papa. And He’s crazy about you.
He’s cares about your heart and your dreams and your family. He’s a father that still speaks, still runs, still embraces (no matter how much we’ve failed).
He’ll speak to us whether we are Chris Brown or Katy Perry or Carlos A. Rodríguez. Because He has never been limited by our bad behavior. And he’s better at forgiving than we are at sinning.
Jesus made a way to that Father.
[bctt tweet=”On the back of Satan’s neck is a nail scarred footprint. #CSLewis”]
So with all of my heart I pray that you and Chris Brown (and most of all, me) can fully experience the sounds of God’s glorious voice. There, everything will change.
The father of lies turns kids into abusers, innocence into depravity, mistakes into shame.
But God the Father turns sinners into saints, prodigals into children, us into Him.
Time to listen.
God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. Ephesians 2:4-5
*Other articles of Jesus in Hollywood:
*For more Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, read: Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
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