About two years ago a friend introduced me to Andy Mineo’s music. I was simply blown away. He was edgy, his lyrics were staunch and there was this grit about him that exuded the beauty of humanity. He wasn’t a slow-tongued rapping delinquent who lacked skill. The man was talented. Maybe gifted is a better word for his essence. I loved that I could hear his passion for Christ and his battle with his flesh. Listening to his music was liking having a conversation with a friend who completely understood the struggle of wanting to live for Christ while facing personal demons.
After telling a few friends about him. It didn’t take long before my interest in his music came to a halt. My google search was truncated with pictures, memes, and blogs questioning the artist’s intentions. There were many negative articles plastered across the internet about Andy not really being a Christian. Other articles professed that he’d sold his soul to the devil for fame and fortune. All of these articles were written by Christians.
I found myself having mixed emotions. I spent some time torn trying to decide if I should continue to listen to his music. Though I must admit, I was more puzzled at how those of the Christian community spent time bickering over Andy’s authenticity in his faith. Suddenly, the light bulb went off and my annoyance with the negative responses turned to shame. I begin to see myself in those negative comments. There were times that I had turned my nose up at how another person chose to worship or honor God if I didn’t approve it. I was wrong. God began to deal with me through this revelation about how I viewed others.
There were a few things I learned about grace, judging others and compassion.
1. We spend so much time judging other people’s ministry that we don’t focus on our own growth. Here’s a reality check. Before complaining about how someone else is operating in their gifting ( i.e. ministry), make sure you are doing something with yours. It’s easy to criticize those who stepped out on faith to publicly use their gifts when you are sitting on yours.
2.Criticism and Righteous Judgement are different. Righteous judgement – Restores. Petty Criticisms – Condemn.
3.We don’t offer people grace to grow. No one is perfect. We are flawed as humans and are mere dust without the breath of God. We all make mistakes and need grace in the midst of that mistake. Grace is like a bumper car. We are given a vehicle to transcend our journey on earth but just in case we get off track, there is a buffer area around that vehicle to protect us and give us time to get back on track.
4.We should handle all of our Christian brothers and sisters with compassion. Compassion is not the lack of discipline. If a sister is blatantly out of order, we are to restore them to the truth with compassion.
5.Each journey with Christ is unique. None of our journeys will look alike; nor should they. Spending time arguing over what someone else’s journey should look like only causes division among the Body of Christ. It is also a distraction. What good does it do to spend time bickering over how another sister’s journey looks? Nothing. While we waste time criticizing others, we miss the opportunity to win lost souls.
Let’s face it, rapping is Andy’s ministry. He isn’t in a long cloak or neat trendy suit passing out Sunday’s communion. He’s in a tee, jeans, and a pair of sneaks. Maybe he’s a modern day Apostle Paul of sorts. Or maybe he’s just a man who is trying to use his gift to honor God and present Christ to the unknown. In either case, it takes a certain type of fortitude to go public with your walk with Christ.
Ultimately, God will judge how each of us used our gifts. Were our hearts set to serve God or ourselves? I’m not capable of determining if Andy or another artist with platforms similar to his are serving God with a pure heart. That’s not my place. I can, however, pray for my Christian brothers and sisters with large public platforms. And while I pray for them, I’ll be working out my salvation with a little Andy Mineo bumping in the background.