I am a huge fan of the new app Periscope. Since I joined the Periscope community I have met interesting people, and some weird ones, from all over the world. Most of the people I interact with are regular everyday people. Recently I had the pleasure of viewing, in real time, the Periscope stream of gospel singer and Pastor- Le’Andria Johnson.
By the time I entered the “scope”, or live stream, I witnessed a woman who may have been intoxicated, and seemed at least slightly frustrated with some of the comments from her viewers. A quick search of her name will reveal claims that Le’Andria was drunk, and using profanity. Critics have tried to use her actions within the confines of her home to claim that she “was acting contradictory to her Christian beliefs” and that she must be “faking” her way to stardom. I cannot speak on what happened prior to the time that I entered the scope. I can however admit that it is possible, judging by her actions, that Le’Andria could have had a little to drink. She was not, however, stumbling over, or sloppy drunk.
What bothers me the most however, is that so many people are so quick to try to discredit this woman for being human. Growing up as a preachers kid, I am particularly empathetic towards those who endure this type of criticism. I know first hand how people want to hold those who have a “title” to an, often times, unrealistic standard of conduct.
I am a Christian. I have grown up in church all my life. I have studied and even considered other religions, but I choose to serve Jesus. Having said all this, does not mean that I will always follow every commandment, it does not mean that I will be perfect. I feel this is why it is stated in the Bible that God is forgiving and merciful-because even he understood that we would make mistakes that require his forgiveness.
What’s most troubling for me is that usually those who make these hurtful judgments are people who I have found generally don’t lead the most wholesome lives themselves. If these critics would examine themselves and fully dissect the divine Word, they will find that it is not our job to judge our neighbor, especially maliciously.
I will say that those believers who live their lives in the spotlight should be particularly careful about what they share and with whom they share it. But, it gets to become tiresome to always feel like you can’t be your true self because of how others will judge yo. However, I understand that this is the price you pay for holding a high-profile status.
With Periscope offering us all the opportunity to share the most intimate details of our lives, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more stories like this in the coming months. I have found myself biting my tongue a lot on Periscope for fear of what others will say if they found out I use profanity, or if they see that I reverted back to smoking cigarettes. So I tip my hat off to this brave lady who was fearless enough to show her true colors on the world stage.
I think that for every person out there who is criticizing Le’Andria’s behavior there is probably two or three other people silently watching and feeling a sense of ease knowing that even as a Christian you will still be imperfect in some areas of your life. I found it encouraging that this woman could be true to herself.
I have struggled with being true to myself over the years for fear of what, my family, my church, and the community would say about my actions. The truth is:
God will still love you (He knows the thoughts and intents of your heart before you do).
Your family will still be related to you.
Your true friends already know who you really are.
Your church family and true supporters in your community will pray for you in spite of what you do. (The ones who are really “on your team,” anyway)
People need to stop being so critical, and start being more patient. The next time you fix your mouth to say something judgmental, try responding with love instead. Remember, just because you see one small segment of someone’s life that appears to be less than Holy- does not mean you can dismantle their entire ministry.