In last two generations, we have seen many of our top pop icons self-destruct. Why? Man is designed to worship and not to be worshiped.
Three of our most popular cultural symbols, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, and Prince have perished through self-inflicted means in less than fifty years. All three had immense talent and charisma that invoked adulation that was almost unprecedented. These men all developed almost cult followings due to their entertainment genius even though it may have never been their intent. Idolatry happens when legitimate things become ultimate things. There is nothing wrong with recognizing and enjoying great talent, but when those gifts become the driving force in our life, they, in essence, become our god.
When we start to deify a person we never do him or her a favor. We put them in a role in which they can never succeed. It is tough to meet the job qualifications of God, all-seeing, all- knowing, and all-loving, etc. God is the only one who is worthy of our veneration and capable of receiving it without negative consequences. God wants our reverence but does not need it. He is self-sufficient. He desires it from us because he knows it’s best for us. Man, unlike God is self-centered, and therefore needy. The more adoration he receives, the more he desires it to make him feel complete. Public figures find themselves on a treadmill with no end in sight. It is unsustainable. History records that our brightest stars have started to self-medicate to dull the pain of their existence.
It is not my purpose in writing this piece to condemn those who have fame and fortune. All of us bear a little responsibility for their fate. We are a part of a culture that increasingly worships the creature rather than the creator. We also should not deceive ourselves into believing that this dilemma does not exist in the sacred as well at the secular world. The solution is simple, though not always easy. We must worship the one true God, saving us from the disappointment of worshiping a false god, and the destruction of being one.
Image used with permission by Microsoft.