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Truth Matters


Michael Jackson died suddenly at the early age of fifty.  I bought his Thriller album when we lived in Richmond, Virginia in the early 1980's.  My musical taste was influenced by a large black population in Richmond.  That meant a lot of Michael Jackson music.   


Even though much of the world views Jackson as "god-like", I don't. The "king of pop" has now become the "god of pop" to some fans.  I view his life as being sad.  Yes, he was a great performer and humanitarian, but his personal life seemed tragic in many respects.


I watched the memorial service on TV.  Andrae Crouch and his choir opened the service with his song entitled "We Shall See the King".  That's King Jesus, not king Jackson.   It's reported that Crouch actually spoke and prayed with Jackson twice in the last three months of his life.  


During the service I saw the hands raised in praise, and the tears of adoration for Jackson by his fans.  You had to have been touched when Michael's young daughter Paris attempted to express her love through a broken voice and tears of sorrow.         


Prior to the memorial Jermaine Jackson told Larry King that Michael Jackson was a "gift from God,"  and that he "gave his life for humanity."  I'm sorry Jermaine. I know you're grieving, but that's just not true.  We know who gave His life for humanity, and it wasn't Michael Jackson. 


From my standpoint, those close to Michael Jackson are going out of their way to protect his image.  I certainly nderstand their reasoning.  He's only been gone a few days and there's tons of money to be made by keeping his name good.  We all want to protect our loved ones once they've left us.  Maybe when the hype is over, the denials will end, but they probably won't. There's too much at stake.


All the facts of Jackson's life and death may never be totally known.  I'm sure the investigative news media will uncover a lot of things, but whatever the case, it sure appears there's some denial taking place in order to protect the Jackson image.  These Jackson denials remind me of a Biblical principle found in Galatians 2:11 to 20.  The Jackson situation is not the same situation as seen in Galatians, but the idea of denying the facts is the same.  Verse 11 tells us that when "Peter came to Antioch, Paul opposed him to his face because he was clearly in the wrong."  


Peter was in the wrong because he was acting hypocritically by denying the truth of the gospel.  There were many Gentile Christians in Antioch when Peter visited their city.  Peter was a Jew and Jews would never think of eating with Gentiles.  Not so with Peter.  He ate with these Gentile Christian brothers until some Jewish brothers in Christ came to visit Antioch.  With their arrival Peter withdrew himself from the Gentile Christians.  He was afraid of what his Jewish friends would think of him associating with Gentiles, even if they were Christians.  


Paul could not stand to watch this denial of the truth of the gospel, so in front of everyone  he exposed Peter's hypocrisy.  This is the Biblical principle.  We are to stand on the side of the truth, no matter what, even if it spoils the image of a friend. 


Peter understood the truth of the gospel.  He knew that when it comes to salvation, there is no difference between Jew or Gentile, so eating with a Gentile brother in Christ isn't a problem.  Yet out of fear, Peter denied the truth in order to maintain a good image.  On the other hand, Paul upheld the truth even though it meant spoiling the image of Peter.  While Peter denied the truth because he feared men, Paul stood for the truth because he feared God.   


If I were to do something blatantly wrong, you should not protect me by denying my actions. The facts of the truth comes before family and friends.  Jesus told us that standing with Him could cause division, even among family members (Matthew 10:34 ).  


In these days when the truth of anything, including the truth of the gospel, is being challenged for the sake of a good image, unity and a positive confession, we should follow Paul's example.  We should stand on the side of truth, no matter the consequences.  Our loyalty is first to Jesus and the truth of His gospel, and then to others.   We don't deny the truth to protect anyone's image, including our own.  We uphold the truth because truth matters.

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