“For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.”
There’s so much going on in the news, especially in pop culture. With the news of the passing of hip hop icon of Earl Simmons, better known as DMX, this topic has hit my heart in a personally. If you’ve been following me, you know I typically don’t cover these things in my blog but my attention has been captured by essay length social media posts and captions that belong on scrolls. All being used as venting tools for those going against church hurt, self righteousness and the burdens church folk bring. I can’t blame them, these things are valid and shouldn’t be at all, but sadly lives in the church, outside of it and in the hearts of both believers and non-believers, alike. The assumptions and arguments over the validity of the rapper’s salvation and the location of his soul are disheartening and frankly scary. Seeing what others assume about people, their demons, their soul and ultimately their view of what salvation is disheartening.
For the churchy folk…
It’s easy to fall into self-righteousness, or at least in my case, I’ve found it to be. Although I’ve been the recipient of church hurt, the experience didn’t stop me from becoming an offender. Once I felt I became immune to my old ways and habits that kept me feeling guilty, I began to see the wrongs of others more clearly than my own. Once I started growing my relationship with Christ, it didn’t take long to notice the work of the Holy Spirit on my life. My desire for the things I once loved to do, had faded and was replaced with healing and growth. As time went on, I realized how my response to former stimuli into sinful situations had no effect on me anymore. I was happy, excited to say the least and proud! Proud of how I overcame a few hindering weaknesses and gave myself full credit for it.
Months and even years went by without falling to my former temptations and habits. I forgot how difficult the process of sobriety was and now, could clearly see the faulty thinking that kept me in that place. So, when I encountered friends and family who hadn’t walked that path yet, I’d try my best to show them their faulty thinking. I believed that convinced me to chose Christ over my weaknesses, was seeing how my thinking lead and kept me there. All, I had to do was to help them see their damaged thinking and the half the work would be done and they’d move onto better.
Yep, totally wrong of me. It’s one thing to be supportive and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t supportive of keeping them in their low place, by allowing them to feel relief by venting their troubles to me. Now, I’m more concerned about their issue than they are and they’re empty enough to go fill up on drama, drugs or self-helplessness again. It became too easy to judge others and despite the frustration I felt from their decisions and resulting complaints, it’s not my job to count them out. Once God gives us the understanding of something, we become so enamored with the power of it within our lives. The thing here is, that we can’t push that revelation onto anyone! They need to have their own with Christ. People don’t change because we make them or plan it out for them. They change because they crave it, they want it bad enough. What does this have to do with DMX? Let’s bring this home.
At the End of the Day
It’s not out job to condemn anyone for their lifestyle, habits, addictions and preferences, after all, we still have ours. It’s our job to be a sign that points to Jesus as the one who can help you with all that you need. Judging DMX’s relationship with Christ because of his drug addiction and overdose isn’t our call to do, Christian or not. While we as Christians understand that yes, this is a sin, but it’s a sin that is covered under the blood of Christ. He died for ALL sins. Now the tricky part here is that plenty of people freely assume his relationship with Christ and salvation was cancelled due to his lifestyle. Is our salvation under review if we fall? Are we cancelled in heaven if we return to a struggle?
We lose salvation when we leave Christ (stop believing in Christ) for the world, but again, what if we’re struggling? Grasping for pieces of Jesus while fighting the secret urges in our flesh. Personally, I believe God hasn’t forsaken us and that while we struggle with our demons, we are still saved and covered under his blood, while we battle with the conviction of knowing better AND trying to change. None of us truly know for sure where DMX was with Christ before his demise, but one thing we DO know, is that Earl Simmons definitely KNEW Christ and had his own relationship with HIM. That’s what counts. Most of us don’t have a clue where we are with our relationship with Jesus and attend church regularly.
The many videos of his prayers and interviews where he mentions the name of Jesus, his crediting God on video, helped to spread Jesus’ name to someone who may not have know who he was. We all sin daily, hourly as a matter of fact. Although the actions vary and to us the intensity varies, but to God it’s all the same. Earl Simmons, in his sobriety used those days to put Jesus’ name before his and that’s what matters. We all mess up, the preacher sins, your grandmother sins, I sin, you sin and Earl did too. Does that automatically send us to hell despite our relationship with Christ? Not really, there’s other factors at play. Yet, to assume the destination of someone’s soul because of their latest condition is presumptuous, dangerous and careless of us who call ourselves Christians and those who don’t but hold others to standards they don’t live by. We are not the judge, God is. Besides, shouldn’t we want to focus more on the reality of his life, the good, bad, ugly and ministry? We could gain so much more from that. Plus wouldn’t we want others to learn from our lives and actions, and not spend their life trying to place us in hell or heaven based on their judgements and affections? Leave the judgement to God.