What Would Jesus Say to Miley Cyrus?

By now you have seen, read, or heard about Miley Cyrus’ night at the VMA’s hosted by MTV. Most of the reactions have been predictable such as the condemnation of the Parents Television Council which ironically her father, Billy Ray, serves as a board member. But I’ve been surprised by the negative reaction offered by some you wouldn’t expect including the report in the Huffington Post about other stars who were unimpressed by her “performance.”

As Christians we have a responsibility to think about this issue in a biblical way. Inspired by one of Lee Strobel’s older books, I thought it might be worth asking, “What Would Jesus Say to Miley Cyrus?”

1. The morning after the VMA’s the Morning Joe team didn’t hold back in criticizing her with Mika even saying that Miley’s “deeply troubled”, “disturbed”, “has confidence issues” and “probably has an eating disorder”. The round table was disgusted.

Jesus isn’t disgusted by our sin. He was gracious to the woman caught in adultery, the woman at the well, the woman who anointed his feet, to name just a few.

Let’s start with this: Jesus would have undoubtedly been glad to talk to Miley. He always had time for the “sinners.” Jesus spent time with the moral outcasts which, in some circles, is what Miley has become.

Jesus: “Miley, I love you. I don’t hate you and I’m sure not against you.”

2. Jesus would warn Miley that sin is incredibly dangerous and deceptive. Jesus’ love for Miley wouldn’t allow him to wink at sin or minimize it in any way. He condemned lust and threatened hell for anyone who would not fight against it (Matthew 5:27-30). Sexual immorality made his list of the evils that come from within and defile us (Mark 7:20-23). Jesus would explain to her that sin will be judged and receive its just punishment.

Jesus: “Miley, no sin is worth destroying your life now or losing out on the life to come.”

3. Jesus would tell Miley that the pursuit of fame can ruin your soul and keep you from believing the gospel (John 5:44). Shortly after the VMA’s concluded, Miley was on Twitter talking about the social media traffic that her performance generated, how many followers she gained, and that Rolling Stone loved it. But just as Jesus said that life doesn’t consist in the the abundance of possessions neither does it consist in the abundance of “followers” or “friends”. Jesus taught that when we crave the approval of others, we find it difficult to care what God thinks.

Jesus: “Miley, the opinions of people are fickle, but mine lasts forever. Don’t trade what you cannot keep for that which you cannot lose.”

4. Jesus would tell Miley that causing a little one to sin is a serious offense. In fact, according to him, it’s better to have a millstone tied around your neck and be thrown into the sea than to cause others to stumble (Matthew 18:6). Based on what I’ve heard the VMAs appeal to the tween crowd. These are kids who are trying to figure out their own identity, searching for approval and popularity, and vulnerable to the pressure to look and act like people they see in the media.

Jesus: “Miley, you may not want to be a role model, but you are. Take that role very seriously.”

5. Jesus would call Miley to repentance and faith and offer her forgiveness and eternal life. She hasn’t committed the unpardonable sin. There is no sin so great that Jesus death isn’t sufficient to pay the penalty for it. Jesus offered forgiveness to everyone who’d believe in him including the thief on the cross that died next to him, the woman caught in adultery, and the self-righteous Pharisees. Jesus is not a reluctant savior. He doesn’t discriminate based on our sins. He went to the cross to pay for every sin of everyone who believes.

Jesus: “Miley, I want to a relationship with you. Won’t you repent of your sin, look to me to as your Savior, and receive my salvation?”

When you think about it, what Jesus would say to Miley Cyrus is pretty much the same thing he’d say to us. He might add a warning to us church people to guard against self-righteousness.

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