There is an article floating around social media that truly grieves my heart. Part of me was very hesitant to even link the article in my blog, but the other part of me figures there’s a good chance you’ve already seen it. While I don’t particularly want to give that website any more traffic, I believe a discussion is in order.
The author pits two teenage girls against one another in an effort to “prove” that one is better than the other. One teen girl comes from a Christian family, the other does not. Let’s strip away the fact that these teenagers are reality stars with big families, big money, and big followings. We’re left with countless people tearing one girl down in the name of Christianity. Sadie is inspirational. Kylie is promiscuous. (Not my words, mind you.) The fact that so many Christians are liking, sharing, praising, and justifying this article shows the rest of the world a picture of Jesus that I do not recognize.
Here’s the thing. Kylie Jenner is created in the image and likeness of God. He wrote eternity on her heart, too. She is fearfully and wonderfully made. His grace is sufficient for her. Christ laid down his life for her. She is entitled to the throne of grace; she has an invitation to be a daughter of the King.
We are all products of our environment. It’s safe to say that Sadie’s parents and Kylie’s parents have different priorities and belief systems. The easy thing to do is compare ourselves, our daughters, our sisters, and every teenage girl we pass in the mall to Sadie and Kylie. If we look more like Sadie than Kylie, we must be doing a good job. If your daughter dresses like Sadie instead of Kylie, then you’re doing a good job as a parent. If only it were that simple.
Not only is that mindset damaging and discouraging, it isn’t biblical. Christ is our standard. He marches under a banner of love, grace, and acceptance. Compare yourself to him — how do you measure? I know I fall short. Daily.
Let’s imagine, for a moment, that your own Sadie-esque daughter grows up to make some Kylie-esque decisions. Would you love her any less? God wouldn’t. Comparison and judgment leads to complacency and a false sense of security.
Growing up, I was Sadie. I was the pastor’s daughter. Then life happened. There were several years that I looked more Kardashian than Christian. I was judged and labeled by Christians who formerly loved and supported me. American Christianity prizes good reputations over Christ-like relationships — I’ve experienced that harsh reality firsthand.
Rather than judge, criticize, and label, look at Kylie through the eyes of Christ. Utilize the lens of love. Rather than publicly demean her, pray that she finds unconditional love, grace, and true acceptance. Rather than placing Sadie on a pedestal, pray that God continues to guard her heart in the midst of a very public lifestyle.
May you see the heart that God created, rather than the painted veils we often hide behind.