Good thoughts on some similarities between Judgment and pop culture from Trevin Wax:
Whenever Simon Cowell gives a brutally honest assessment of an American Idol performance, all of America watches the response of the contestant.
What will they say?
Will they take the criticism in stride?
Will they incorporate the truth and become better?
Or will they lash out against Simon (who is usually right)?
For years, we have heard the common refrain from contestants: “Well, Simon… That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it.” Perhaps this reply showcases our culture’s resistance to seeing anything as objectively good or bad. Is beauty only in the eye of the beholder? Or are there transcendent standards of beauty and goodness?
This year, contestants have been more apt to admit that they might have performed badly. But they have often sought to justify themselves by saying: “But at least I had a good time.” Or: “Well, I was having fun up there.”
In other words: “It doesn’t matter whether or not I sounded terrible. It doesn’t matter if the arrangement stunk or if America and the judges thought the performance was lacking. What matters is that I had ‘fun.'”
It has been funny to watch Simon and the other judges respond politely, saying “Good for you” while probably thinking, “America doesn’t care if you were having fun. Are you good enough to go on to the next round or not?”
I wonder how many people in our society respond to the consequences of their bad decisions in the same way. “At least I had fun.”
- I lost my job because I was looking at pornography at work, but at least I had a “good time.”
- My wife left me because I was committing adultery, but at least the “affair” was “fun.”
- My kids are rebelling because I have been an absent and distant parent, but at least I have had “fun” in all the extracurricular activities I was involved in.
However, people never really look back on their failures and think of how fun it was at the time. Equipped with 20/20 vision into their past, they see the whole picture and regret their failings. Sadly, those without Christ will race forward blindly, lacking wisdom, discernment, and direction and inevitably slam into more walls of failure and regret.
Our society believes that enjoyment of this life is the primary purpose of life. We are Epicureans now. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Negative consequences may come to us because of negative choices, but we can justify those consequences by appealing to “fun” and “pleasure.”
It is sad to watch people who appeal to the “good time” get voted off the next week. Real life comes crashing down. We face judgment for our choices. Perform badly for the judges on American Idol and the American public who is watching at home on TV and you will be sent packing, whether you had a good time or not.
The judgment of God is similar. Our performance before a holy and righteous God is sadly lacking. We have not reflected him rightly. We have not fulfilled the human vocation he gave us in the Garden. We have rebelled against his rule.
How many people will face the judgment of God in the same way? When those who refuse to bow the knee to Christ (the only one to offer God a perfect performance) will stand before his throne and hear the chilling words, “I never knew you,” how will they respond?
“Well, at least I had a good time…” could be the sad, last words of the sinner doomed to destruction.