From Gold Digger to Streets of Gold: Why Kanye’s redemption story should give you hope.
The world is talking about the fate of Kanye West’s soul. (As if the world has any say-so.) His recently released album is number one on iTunes: Jesus is King. Yes indeed.
Until recently, Kanye’s life has been a picture of hedonism; following his own pleasure at break-neck speed. He’s excelled at fame, at music, at creating a fashion brand, at attracting a beautiful wife. He has been out-spoken about his views of sexuality (even hosting a porn award show), how he felt larger than God. All of that was really working for him. Until it wasn’t.
Reportedly, Mr. West turned to gospel music after he felt like God spoke to him that his mental illness would be healed through gospel music, and his conversion came as a result of investing his time and talents into Jesus-exalting gospel music. Kanye has spoken out about his bipolar diagnosis and what it’s like to live with the disease in an interview that can be seen here. He’s also been very candid about his addiction to pornography, and early exposure at age 5.
Why should this give us all hope?
Basically every aspect of it.
- Currently, he couldn’t be any more outspoken that the lifestyle he pursued before he gave his life to Christ was instead running and ruining his life, but now he is choosing another Person to be in charge. No matter what you have done or how far you’ve gone, forgiveness in available. Kanye reminds us that it’s never too late to change your life.
- Kanye is not the first surprising conversion that people doubted. The Apostle Paul was also met with a lot of distrust initially after he encountered Jesus on his way to persecute Christians (see Acts 9 and beyond). God has been in the business of jaw-dropping life change for quite some time. Kanye reminds us that God will scandalously hand out grace where you least expect it.
- Kanye’s bipolar diagnosis is all-too relatable for a lot of us. If not bipolar, most of us are someone or personally know someone who struggles with a mental disorder. Yet, Kanye is not letting his diagnosis be the defining factor in his life. Christ is bigger. This doesn’t mean his struggle is any less real. (Though I am not here to argue the merits or likelihood of his healing, if that is what he believes has happened). But he is choosing, and we can choose, to not let our days be anxiety-centric, depression-centric, bipolar-centric, etc. Kanye reminds us that there are better measures of our days than just how big of a factor our mental health has been in our waking hours.
- Pornography addiction is real and destructive, and Kanye has moved from championing its use to pursuing freedom and championing a healthier view of sexuality. It is not an easy habit or addiction to break, however, a new way of life is available for those who desire to be free. (For what it’s worth, I’m really loving the deep, narrative-based work of Andrew Bauman on this particular topic.) Kanye reminds us that long-held sin patterns don’t have to define our lives.
The bottom line in this moment of culture is this: no one is too far gone for life changing redemption. God’s grace can find you…no matter what.
If you struggle with a mental health diagnosis or an addiction, counseling can be a great step in pursuing a better life for yourself. If you want to know more about God’s grace, find a local church to go to on Sunday.
Today is a great day to write a new redemption story.