I have quietly observed via social media and conversations around me when individuals have expressed their opinions about Kanye West and the sincerity of his relationship with God. I have kept my opinions to myself. However, with the release of his latest musical project, Jesus is King, and the growing fame of #KanyeSundayService I just have something I want to ask you. Does Jesus save or nah? I ask this question because it seems like some people have an issue with particular individuals claiming salvation.
I’m sure you, like me, have a prayer list of people close to you that you would love to hear confess that Jesus is their saviour. You probably make a point to constantly let them know they don’t have to be perfect and that God’s grace is sufficient. Maybe you hit them with Jesus loves everyone and that He died for all. You may even take it one step further and mention that there isn’t anything they could do that God will not forgive them for doing. BUT for some reason you would be observing like a detective or private investigator for one tiny slip up from your worst enemy if they were to profess salvation and practice Christianity. Admit it! I know I am guilty of doing this. I would be overjoyed to see one of my family members testify that God is transforming their hearts and lives to bring God glory in everything they are doing. Yet there is another side of me that mocks the people I don’t get along with for their relationship with God or lack thereof. I outwardly say that I am praying for them to be saved. However, the reality is that I secretly want them to burn and suffer in hell because they have done things that are absolutely hard to forgive. So with the movement of my mouth I will say, “They need Jesus.” In my mind and heart I really want them to suffer. Like, not die from a serious illness suffer, but don’t give them any of the really good blessings suffer. I’m just being transparent and I think if you think about it you probably can relate. It’s human nature to want to see those who have wronged you lose in one way or another.
This is what we are doing to Kanye. For those who have followed his music career you may have heard the “old Kanye” versus “new Kanye” debate. When spiritually speaking, he is professing that this Kanye we see now is the “new Kanye.” He has mentioned in several interviews that he has had a spiritual awakening and is doing things for God now. In his interview with James Corden Kanye mentions, “It was people in my family that were praying for me ...It was God that put this on my heart and said ‘Are you ready to be in service to him.’” Why don’t we want to believe Kanye? Is God not powerful enough to save Kanye? Is our faith that small that we don’t believe God can save someone like Kanye? Are we that much of a hypocrite that we want God to forgive us for lying, sleeping around or whatever it is that we do over and over and ask for forgiveness in prayer but not extend grace and mercy to Kanye? Perhaps taking a look at Acts chapter 9 may help us to see someone else, Saul, that seemed impossible and unbelievable to ever change in the eyes of the first Christians. Here’s a rule of thumb for us. If God can save Saul and give him purpose as Paul then Kanye is lightweight for him….mmmkay?! In general, are there things that we as the public disagree with that Kanye has done in his past...be it recent past or distant past? Yes. However, that doesn’t give us the right to say that he has not been sincere in his repentance to God.
But, maybe the issue isn’t that he says he’s saved. Perhaps we have a problem with him profiting from this life change he is testifying about. How is that any different from what traditional gospel artist have been doing for years? Is our issue that his platform is bigger than theirs? I am sure they would be grateful to have the reach Kanye has with his music audience. I personally am not upset with the man. I sell t-shirts. I sell my t-shirts because I want to make money!!! No one who has a craft/skill is going to just sit around and do things for free 100% of the time. Trust me, everyone wants to monetize their skill/gift. Why can’t he? What is wrong with him sharing his testimony and gaining funds in the process? I mean, no one had a problem when Beyonce did it. I know for a fact some in church on Sunday after Sunday paid good, hard earned money for her music and even for concert tickets when she shared about her issues in her marriage. We will buy every book a preacher writes and every song a traditional Christian artist releases where they are sharing their story/testimony with the world. Is there a double standard? I mean, who the heck do we think we are?!
There is a horrible truth to be faced as Kanye has called out the hypocrites in his latest album. With songs like “Hands On” and “Follow God” the lyrics are heart piercing. One of my favorite lines from “Follow God” is when he says, “...but nobody ever tells you when you’re being like Christ.” People...don’t be that person. Don’t be the person waiting to tell Kanye or anyone else for that matter when they are NOT being like Christ but can not be there to encourage them when they ARE being like Christ. If there is one thing that constantly blows my mind about Christians it would have to be putting God in an invisible box. Who are you or I to say what God is or is not doing? Do you have the 411 on who God is willing to bless or not? Does he go over his thoughts with you? Probably not, because His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). Let me guess, you think it’s a fad. You’re waiting for that moment when you can say “Ah Ha. I told you so.” Take a moment and think about that. Think about what it is that you believe you will gain if someone does fall back in their walk with God, a.k.a. backslide. You will gain NOTHING!
Pastor Chris Priestley recently tweeted, “I don’t know Kanye West, but if he thinks for ONE second that calling on the name of Jesus will somehow forgive a lifetime of misogyny, blasphemy, profanity, and sexual immorality, he’s absolutely...RIGHT!” I couldn't agree more! Kanye is right. Anyone who seeks God for refuge is right! Jesus does save and he saves EVERYONE. He died for the sins of the world and we would all do well to remember that simple fact.