Roasting Bieber (and others…)
Ask yourself, "how would it feel if someone said that to me?"
Over the last few weeks, the world was struck again by BIEBER FEVER! That is, the fever to make fun of Bieber. I noticed that the Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber shot up the charts on iTunes TV Shows. Are you one of the many who watched it?
I haven’t watched it, but all I needed was a promo to understand how it works. Basically they spend an hour making fun of a celebrity — in this case, Justin Bieber. They even get a specialist panel in and each of them gets a turn to stand up in front of an audience and mock the celebrity, hurling insult after insult. Meanwhile Justin Bieber just has to sit their and take it, until right at the end when he gets his turn to reply.
Why is ‘roasting’ so popular?
I think it reveals one of our major cultural sins. We LOVE to insult people. We do it to just about anyone, especially when they stand out or are different. We even love to insult our friends and justify it by ending with “lol jokes”. Even if it is not us directly, we love to join in or stand by laughing while this mocking happens, or share it on Facebook. Even to sit and watch comedians “roast” people is to join in on the insults. Sure it might just be for fun, but I think what we call fun exposes a symptom of a deeper problem.
Your special power
James, the brother of Jesus, has some firm words to say to us on this matter. In chapter 3 of his letter he speaks of the great power that the tongue has: “The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark” (v5).
He realises that even though the tongue is such a small body part, it has great power and so he notes the hypocrisy when Christians sing songs to God on Sunday and mock their friends on Monday.
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (James 4:9-10).
A life or death choice
Now, I myself have never been a “Belieber”, but whether you love him or hate him, that gives you no right to spend an hour dragging him through the dirt just for fun. In fact, this is true for anyone you like or dislike. We have no place bringing them down. God sees it all. More to the point, as followers of the risen Lord Jesus we are called to stand out from the crowd and live different lives. So we need to be aware of this big cultural temptation, and resist it.
Proverbs 18:21 says: “The tongue has the power of life and death”.
So, how will you choose to use your words??
Will you speak words of death? Cutting people down for no reason or because of how they act, making fun of what someone wears and using social media to bully people? My brothers and sisters this should not be.
Choose to speak words of life. Choose to use your words kindly and gently. Say things that will build up and encourage. Compliment people’s gifts and character. Say only what is loving.
If you are not sure where something stands, listen to the doubts and ask “how would it feel if someone said that to me?”
There is great power in the words that roll off your tongue. So next time you want to watch Justin Bieber get roasted or you want to bag out a friend, think again. Instead, speak words of life.