The news media has been filled with reports of the untimely death of yet another celebrity icon. The cause of death was initially unconfirmed, and determination of possible contributing factors might not be known for some weeks. However, a lifestyle of drugs, and possible addiction, appeared to be common knowledge.
One is left to wonder why an individual who has achieved monumental success and worldwide fame would be so careless as to risk everything for the fleeting euphoria, and pending addiction, of drugs and alcohol. Yet this is a pattern that we see repeated incessantly in our society. This case is just the latest in an ongoing and seemingly endless chain of such tragedies. The names of the famous people who have met such an end shine forth like beacons in the night. The senselessness of their deaths is stunning.
Why do such gifted, successful people continue to go down the same road that has so repeatedly led to ruin and destruction? There’s probably some belief that what happened to so many others won’t happen to me- I’ll be able to handle it! Yeah, right. Such self-deception is a natural companion to addiction.
Why the need for the artificial high of substance abuse for an individual who, it would seem, ought to be naturally high on success, achievement, fame and all the perks that go therewith?
Many answers can be offered, many of which hold some validity from individual to individual. Carelessness has certainly been an open door to ruin for a great many people. Peer pressure has played a role in the downfall of many. Being in a bad environment has brought down more than a few. The allure of apparent excitement is a factor for some. Others resort to substance abuse as a false answer to stress and anxiety.
The bottom line influence, however, is the devil. He is that “adversary” who “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). He’s always looking for an opportunity, and he seems to know all the potential opportunities. He was there in the garden to tempt Eve when she was free of sin and in an environment in which God had provided for her physical needs bountifully. Yet the devil found an opportunity to lead her into sin, and then he used her to lead her husband into sin (Gen. 3:1-6).
Part of the devil’s skill is to depict sin as being desirable, even to make it appear to be good. But whenever obvious evil is portrayed as good, watch out (Isa. 5:20). Ultimately, the ugliness of sin will surface, and there will be consequences. The ruined lives noted in this article are case in point.
We must be careful whom we idolize. We need to teach our children to be careful as to who they look up to as idols. People tend to imitate their idols. That’s a scary reality, considering so many of the celebrities- both athletes and entertainers- who are absolutely terrible examples yet are idols of so many young adults, teens and pre-teens. We ourselves need, and we need to teach our children, to look for inspiration to people who can help them get to Heaven, not to people who will lead them away from Heaven…
Gary L. Hutchens