When you think of Michael Jackson many different ideas, phrases, and words begin to pop up in your mind. 'King of Pop', 'Thriller, 'Criminal', 'Weirdo',' Pervert', 'Talent', 'Fame', 'Dancer', 'Singer', and more. The life of Michael Jackson has been an interesting story to follow, and many are still unaware of the King of Pop's abusive childhood, and the emotional turmoil the world famous pop artist endured most of his adult life. The power of words didn't just impact Michael as an adult, he heard the hate in words as a boy being told his nose was too fat, and his skin was too dark. As his fame grew, those words continued to chip away at the heart of a boy becoming a man the world wanted to mold. Perhaps we should take a look at Michael Jackson with new eyes, and see him as a child of God. A man who struggled with the price of fame, the spotlight, and the pressures to be someone the world expected him to be.
Perhaps the hardest conversations I have with people today are about Michael Jackson. This may seem strange, but a majority of my friends and peers have a very negative view of Michael Jackson — his life, his story, his decisions. It's discouraging to me because the King of Pop is no different than you and I, yet we exploit him so freely. His trials and failures were something everyone knew about, whether truth or fiction. His distant behavior and inability to communicate with the world without his music made it very easy for the masses find him guilty without even viewing any or all the facts. The true events of his life will never be known to us, only to God, Michael and those who were involved, yet the world held those accusations as ammunition, ready to fire their words, their opinions and their hatred onto a man who wanted only to promote peace, love and innocence. His actions were different, his approach to innocence and capturing a childhood he never had was out of the ordinary, and his distant and aloof behavior in his adult years bred from years of child abuse, and self-esteem issues only opened the door for speculation by the mass majority of the world. This leads to confusion, to uncertainty, to negativity….but should this breed hate?
I understand where the negative opinion of Michael Jackson comes from, and I understand the confusion it causes people worldwide. However, I do not understand the slanderous actions taken by members of the body of Christ after his death, and even during his troubled life. Terms like 'Whacko Jacko', and slanderous jokes shared at the lunch table after Sunday morning services. These actions, I cannot understand nor find acceptable.
As Christians, I feel we lost an opportunity when Michael Jackson passed away. I feel we lost an opportunity while he was living. There before us, loved by millions, scorned by millions was a man who in his songs shared his heart with the nation. He wanted to heal the world, to make a change, and to be understood.
In the song “Will You Be There,” a song many only associate with a killer whale named Willy, Michael Jackson shares some of his most intimate thoughts, that were dismissed by many at the time, and even still today. The song actually illustrates a form of fellowship that many Christians can relate to in the church. These are the lyrics, these words are straight from the lips of the King of Pop:
“…But They Told Me
A Man Should Be Faithful
And Walk When Not Able
And Fight Till The End
But I'm Only Human
Everyone's Taking Control Of Me
Seems That The World's
Got A Role For Me
I'm So Confused
Will You Show Me
You'll Be There For Me
And Care Enough To Bear Me…”
Was the church there? Were you there? Did you lift him up in his times of darkest despair? Are we there for anyone in the spotlight being ripped to shreds for their fears, mistakes, and problems? Perhaps we should stop casting stones, and judging our brothers and sisters struggling with all the world to see. As a body of believers we have not been failed by the celebrities of the world, but instead, we have failed them.
My challenge to you this week: pray for someone who is doing things you don't agree with, pray for someone who you think is a mockery to the world, pray for someone you don't like, pray for your worst enemy. The funny thing about prayer—the more you pray for someone, the more you come to love them, care for them, cherish them, words of hate and malice are harder to speak when you take time to care, to pray, and to love.
Michael Jackson was my friend. I prayed for him, and I still mourn the missed opportunity to share love and hope with the King of Pop.