Sometimes conviction shows up in strange moments. Like, say, the moment you’re tempted judge a reality TV star too harshly.
That happened to me earlier this week. I had just heard the news about Kim Kardashian being robbed in Paris. While staying at a rented room in a private mansion, she was reportedly bound, gagged and held at gunpoint by a group of thieves who made off with about $11 million of jewelry and a couple of cell phones.
Celebrity sympathy soon poured in. But cultural commentators also pondered the admittedly tricky question of whether or not Kardashian’s nonstop social media postings about her whereabouts and activities could have played a part in tipping thieves off to her location.
I have to admit that my first, not-so-charitable response to hearing this news wasn’t sympathy. It was something darker, something more smugly self-righteous. Something like, “Well, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened sooner given how much attention you draw to yourself and your seemingly fabulous life.” Suffice it to say that compassion and concern weren’t my first responses.
But I wasn’t too far into indulging that idea when another thought popped up. While it’s always risky to suggest that the ideas in our heads are definitively the voice of God, this sure felt like the firm, clear conviction of His Holy Spirit in my moment of judgmental moralism.
That thought went something like this: Adam, do you know that I love Kim Kardashian just as much as I love you?
That suggestion brought me up short. Of all the thoughts I’ve ever had about Kim Kardashian since Plugged In (and everyone else) began covering her years ago, that was one I’d never had: God loves Kim Kardashian.
Now, this is not exactly theologically groundbreaking territory, mind you. We know, abstractly, that God loves all of us, that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for all of us. Before God, we all fall short and stand desperately, utterly in need of the redemption and forgiveness only He can offer us.
Still, it’s one thing to ponder the abstract truth of God loving everyone and another thing entirely to consider His love for celebrities whose choices may earn our scorn. God was present when Kim Kardashian reportedly wondered if she might be sexually assaulted or murdered, an experience that was no doubt more terrifying than anything I’ve ever gone through.
That moment of conviction was a reminder that I need to be very careful when rushing to judgment (a temptation that, admittedly, I’ve also had a lot during our crazy election season). God loves me. He loves you. He loves Kim Kardashian. He loves all the other celebrities who grace tabloid covers and website headlines every day.
God also loves those whose stories will never attract similar media coverage: the homeless man on the street, the children suffering incomprehensible agonies in Syria, the families in Haiti wondering why their already impoverished lives had to get pounded by a horrific hurricane, just to name a few.
Frankly, I need God to grow my compassion for both groups of people, the rich and the famous as well as the poor and anonymous. I have a compassion gap in both directions. And as only God can do, He used the suffering of a celebrity whom it’s so easy for me to judge to remind me of that important lesson.