Everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Worship Christ with the best of your portions. I know I won’t forget all He’s done. He’s the strength in this race that I run. Every time I look up, I see God’s faithfulness. And it shows just how much He is miraculous. I can’t keep it to myself, I can’t sit here and be still. Everybody, I will tell ’til the whole world is healed. (from the song “God Is” by Kanye)
The singer and rapper Kanye has created controversy for years with his music, award show encounters and political positions. He is married to Kim Kardashian and they have been known for their luxurious, jet-setting lifestyle. His music has been filled with profanity, explicit images and wouldn’t be close to what you call “God honoring”.
Something has changed.
A couple of weeks ago, Kanye released an album filled with songs that praise God and point people to Jesus. They are songs filled with hope, redemption and Kanye’s plea that God has changed his life and he isn’t going back to his old ways. There’s not a single profane word or explicit lyric on the album. It’s filled with praise and the encouragement to follow God with all you have. It sounds nothing like Kanye or the Kanye who used to be. This is a new creation.
I’m not a huge rap fan but I’ve enjoyed listening to the album. I’m encouraged by this change in Kanye’s life. After all, God is the God of second, third, fourth, fifth and numerous chances. God takes what seems to be broken and irredeemable and fixes it and redeems it. Many of us can testify how God changed our hearts and lives and led us out of darkness and despair. He changed in us what we thought could never be changed. We have experienced His grace and mercy and it has made all of the difference.
Kanye’s change doesn’t surprise me. God changes lives every day. What has surprised me is the negative reaction Kanye has received from Christians. It’s not the atheists who are attacking him. He’s not being attacked by adherents of other religions. He is being attacked by men and women who claim to follow the One who changes lives. He’s being called a “fraud” and “fake” by men and women who sing every week about the amazing grace of God. He’s being criticized and mocked by those who have been saved and changed by our Savior.
This saddens me. If God allows people to change and if He is the one who stimulates that change, who are we to not allow that change to occur? Why do Christians draw lines where God doesn’t draw them and continue to bring up a past that has been forgiven and redeemed? If we can’t allow people to change, what hope are we offering those who come to Christ seeking to change? If we criticize and judge the saved based upon who they were and not what God has done, what encouragement and hope can we offer? Do we truly believe that God can redeem and save anyone?
I’m praying for Kanye and I hope you will too. I am praying that he stays strong as he begins this new walk with Christ. I pray for his wife and children that they will embrace the faith that is being shown to them. And I’m praying for those who are attacking and criticizing Kanye. I’m praying that their hearts will soften, and they will remember that God’s amazing grace saved all of us. We all were separated from God. It is His grace that draws us near and allows us to change. Thank God for being changed lives and His amazing grace!