Let’s all hold our opinions and judgments, and just pray for Kanye in this moment. We have every right to feel suspicious about Kanye’s motives and message, his shady past and messiah complex. We are right to feel concerned about how he will conduct himself as a representative of Christ in front of millions while facing all the temptations that come with fame and fortune. But we also have every reason to believe that God has a long, long history of using very flawed people to accomplish His ends. And last I checked, Kanye hasn’t murdered anyone like Moses, David or Paul.
A couple weeks ago I sat in my church office with 3 of our youth listening to the lyrics of Kanye’s Jesus is King album and discussing Kanye’s influence. We watched his fascinating interview with James Corden in his “Airpool Karoake” bit. (It’s so worth watching here!) In less than 24 hours the Airpool video featuring a very honest “testimony” to his faith had been viewed by 6 million people, and is up to over 12 million now — many of whom are unchurched teenagers, I’d guess.
I mentioned some of the great and/or flawed men God called into ministry in the Scriptures — Moses, Paul and Jesus — and noted how they each endured a season of purification and/or preparation in the desert wilderness before their public ministry commenced. I wish Kanye could spend a season in obscurity and out of the spotlight, being discipled by a wise mentor and developing the character capable of handling the pressures that come with “preaching” to millions. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s a realistic option for Kanye.
So, the best thing people of faith can do is to pray for him and believe God is in the business of reaching, changing and using every kind of person for his purposes. Are you skeptical about the sincerity of Kanye’s faith? Pray for him. Are you questioning his “fitness” for ministry? Pray for him. Are you worried he’s going to crash and burn after a year? Pray for him. Do you worry he’s wrapped up in the ‘prosperity gospel’? Pray for him. Do you find yourself rolling your eyes and can’t muster up any hope that this is the real thing? Pray for your own cynical soul.
We don’t know how Kanye’s story will end, but we do know that the call of every follower of Jesus is to let love flow out toward every soul-in-process. And the love we should have toward every saint and sinner, whether Mother Teresa or Kanye West, is to be “patient and kind . . . It does not dishonor others . . . it keeps no record of wrongs. . . . It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Cor. 13:4-7).
We don’t know how Kanye’s story will end, but we do know that the call of every follower of Jesus is to let love flow out toward every soul-in-process.
So, for Love’s sake, I’m hopeful about Kanye and grateful to God that he calls sinners like me into his service, whether we preach to dozens or millions. Read this scripture, watch the following video and, again, pray for Kanye:
12I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, that He considered me faithful and appointed me to service. 13I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent man; yet because I had acted in ignorance and unbelief, I was shown mercy. 14And the grace of our Lord overflowed to me, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15This is a trustworthy saying, worthy of full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst. 16But for this very reason I was shown mercy, so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His perfect patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:12-16).