Thursday, April 22, 2010
Why Tiger, Courtney and Lindsey are so unhappy.
Have you not wondered why people who have achieved wealth and fame seem to be so unhappy? Tiger Woods goes to therapy for sex addiction. Macaulay Culkin left home at age 17 and was married and divorced by age 20. We are still learning the details of the troubled life Michael Jackson lived. Gary Coleman is still plummeting. Do you remember Brittany Spear's desperate cry for help when she shaved her head several years ago? Lindsay Lohan can't seem to escape the demons of substance abuse. Courtney Love is trying to regain custody of a daughter, Frances, after a judge ordered her taken away and put in the custody of the mother of her father, Kurt Cobain, who committed suicide in 1994.
Most of these unfulfilled celebrities go off for therapy where they seek a solution to their hopelessness. They are victims of there own psychological drives or of the expectations of society. Were they to accept the fact that there is a huge God-shaped hole deep within them that can only be filled with God it would bring great hope to their empty souls. It is what Augustine was referring to when he said, "Our hearts our restless until they find their rest in Thee!" Our guilt pursues us relentlessly and society is unforgiving, just ask Tiger Woods. But God is forgiving and there isn't any sin he is unwilling to forgive. Their frustrations are acted out in bad behavior. Ben Roethlisberger comes to mind. Barbara Brown Taylor said, "…the essence of sin is not (primarily) the violation of laws but a wrecked relationship with God, one another, and the whole created order." Celebrities get the headlines but theycou are but a microcosm of our entire society. We flounder in pointless addictions because we are desperately seeking to fill the God-void deep within our empty souls. Most of us are flummoxed at the discontent we see in celebrities because we, like them, believe the lie that wealth and fame will finally bring lasting satisfaction to one's life.
The Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard said that sin is mostly a refusal to allow our identity to be defined by God. Instead, we seek to define our own identity and we set ourselves apart from him. Sin is not just breaking a set of God-given rules, it is also setting up our own gods in place of the one and true God. Whatever it is that we choose to define our own identity becomes our god. Personally, I've had some difficulty with allowing my job to identify who I am. I love what I do, people know me for what I do and I am tempted to allow my job to become my god. When the job disintegrates all that is left is a shell of a man.
I picked up my four-year old yesterday at school and one of his friends said, "Hi, Kameron's daddy." I looked at the director and said, "I used to have my own identity but now I'm just known as 'Kameron's Daddy'. I pray daily that Kameron will grow to be a man who loves and obeys God. Parents who allow their identity to be defined by their parenting skills become empty shells when their children don't turn out as they wished. We must not justify our existence by our profession, or our status as parent or spouse, rather we must justify our existence by the relationship we have with our Creator.
A life that is not defined by God will be miserable and empty, no exceptions!! Celebrities get very depressed and angry because they believe the lie. They seek hard for wealth and fame and then one day they awaken to realize that the insatiable urge to fill the empty hole is still tormenting them. Living with the delusion becomes unbearable for many.
Many patriotic Americans are extremely frustrated because they establish their identity in a loyalty to a country that is no longer what it once was. Many are angered because the political party around which they have built an identity has failed them. I remember the great amount of anxiety and anger many teachers felt when Baker High School in Columbus, Georgia shut down after over fifty years of existence. They built their whole professional career at Baker and they felt they were losing their identity.
The solution to the emptiness such disillusionment brings into our lives is not only to seek release from the penalty we bring upon ourselves for our sins but to establish our whole identity upon a relationship with the only One who remains the same for all of eternity.