The sudden surprise of Robin William's tragic suicide on August 11th has left the world shocked and saddened. At least- the portion of the world made of people who have aspired and set their dreams on becoming as famous and well-loved as Robin was. We can backtrack and remember the same surprise and shock when actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his own apartment with a needle in his arm- intoxicated with heroin, cocaine, and other drugs. Along the same lines, we can continue to rewind and find the unexpected deaths of Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger, and even Marilyn Monroe.
All the sudden deaths and probable suicides of our heroes and stars leave us shattered- and feeling a little bit hopeless. If these record-breakers, history-makers, and award-winners don't have anything left to live for, then why would we, the average everyday people?
Hollywood, though it remains glitzy and ritzy and glammed up for show, may actually be one of the most depressing and empty places on the planet. It is filled with people who have made it to the top of the totem pole, and found nothing but drug abuse, self-harm, and depression.
Why do people starve? Because they aren't getting enough real food. They are lacking in basic nutrition. These stars under pressure are starving. The self-harmers in this world are starving. Those who struggle to wake up in the morning and cannot find the willpower to make it through the day are starving.
How can these millionaires not be getting enough to eat? How can the suicidal teenagers and adults in first-world countries be starving? It is because they are not getting what's good for them. They are filling themselves up with inadequate substances. And no, I'm not talking about alcohol and drugs. I am talking about themselves.
When people rise to fame, the world crowds around. They plaster their faces on every magazine, newspaper, tv and computer screen. They are found on the bedroom walls of adoring fans. They sign their name probably a hundred more times than the average Joe. The are filled with themselves. Whether they intended to or not, they began to fill themselves with their own achievements and glory. Their fans help them out by praising their looks, their talent, their humour, their voice, everything. They spoon feed these stars with a poison that is actually themselves.
By nature, humans are sinful, empty, and broken inside. If we fill that empty inside with more emptiness and brokenness, we begin a massive spiral downhill fast. Society convinces citizens that the life of fame is the best life to live. The Hollywood superstars were taught this, too. They continued to fill up more and more with their own image, and slowly starved to the point where their was double the emptiness and brokenness that they had at the beginning.
And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
So many young people have the impression that to chase their dreams, they must be popular. Cool. Good-looking. Talented. Practically perfect in every way. This is the checklist that seems to work for the successful pop-culture icons. Do you notice anything peculiar about this list? Maybe not, since it sums up today's culture's expectations in just a few words. But coming from a Christian worldview, there is something dreadfully wrong about it. It is completely consumed with the individual. It surrounds the 'Me, me me!' attitude that is so lethal.
So we spend forever trying to get the perfect selfie. We spend more time at the mirror than at the events we were getting ready for. We spend so much time and energy in fixing our outward appearance, in order to become popular and liked at school or at work. We want to be cute, funny, smart, and we just want to 'have it together.' As these points get checked off, the outer image of the individual is accentuated and improved, while the heart and mind deteriorate and the same steady speed. So many of us fall into the trap of thinking that to be full, to be happy, to be satisfied, we just need more friends. Money. Talent. You name it. So we take what we can do and how we look, and we feed ourselves with the mindset that we need to put more makeup on. We need to buy more clothes. We need to become more popular. We fill our broken selves with more brokenness, thinking that the two negatives will equal a positive.
Although the death of Robin Williams came as a shocker, we know the truth. We know that there are millions of people in the world on the same page as he was. They reached the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow- but it was just a reflection of themselves. Nothing more.
No, the only way to properly nurture the darkness inside us is if we turn on the light- the light of Christ. Only then can we fill ourselves with proper, spiritual food. Only then can we grow and thrive. Instead of living for tomorrow and giving all we can to enjoy our lives, we live with the knowledge that we are living for the other side.
Therefore, we don't live on our own strength, filling up on our own accomplishments, but we fill up on His strength, and on what He will accomplish through us.
Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord,
and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit.
All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God
better and better.