What Kathy Griffin says about us as a society

I don’t usually talk about current events or things political, and I certainly don’t want to bring up what Kathy Griffin did just to pile on the condemnation already directed her way. I’m sure she realizes that this was a foolish thing to do, even if only for her career. But this is relevant to what I’ve been talking about in my series, “Jesus’ Subversive Kingdom,” so I felt the need to chime in.

Here’s why this discussion matters. Whether she was holding up the head of a President or a homeless person, it’s very wrong. In fact, disturbing. And whether we’re believers or atheists, politically left or right, this should give us pause as a society. It’s revealing something very sick at a systemic level in how we see and choose to relate to one another as human beings. It should be a wake-up call for us.

What we’re seeing is what happens when ideology becomes more important than respect for human life, and when civility and honor have given way to mean-spirited demagoguery.  It’s extremely dysfunctional and has even taken on a sociopathic nature.

Griffin revealed this dysfunctional behavior, and now is basically telling us that her apology was bogus with these comments:

“He wants to mess with me?” the comedian said at a press conference in Los Angeles. “He picked the wrong redhead!”(USA Today via MSN.com).

No, Kathy, you were just wrong. You totally missed the point. There is no excuse for your behavior. None. So, please stop talking and realize that the fact you thought this was funny just shows how sick you are. You need professional help.

Jesus brilliantly deals with this relational pathology in His Sermon on the Mount when He said that cultivating anger is the spirit of murder (Matt.5:21-26). I talked about this in my series here so I won’t go over the whole teaching again, but only to make this point.

What we need to see is how this evil trajectory takes us on a path away from valuing human life made in God’s image(Matt.5:45-46; John 3:16) to the point where we think it’s okay to destroy it. It’s cold-hearted and the very opposite of other-centered love.

Again, here how this evil trajectory works:

  • Anger (you thwarted my will, so now you will experience my wrath).
  • Contempt (I don’t care what happens to you).
  • Malice (you are utterly worthless and deserve to be treated like garbage).
  • Murder (I’m justified in destroying another human life).

This is why there are few things that Jesus condemned more than this (see Matt.5:22). The English word “fool” is a bad translation. The original word meant something very different; it’s saying that someone is utterly worthless and worthy of killing (malice). Here’s what Dallas Willard said about Jesus’ condemnation of people in this state of uncontrolled hostility:

“To brand someone a “fool” in this biblical sense was a violation of the soul so devastating that, as Jesus saw, it would justify consigning the offender to the smoldering garbage dump of human existence, gehenna.” (The Divine Conspiracy)

Griffin was obviously making the connection to ISIS with her video. But it’s very telling. How is the way she feels about Trump any different than ISIS? While I’m pretty sure this was not her intent, she unwittingly reveals that she is on the same trajectory as those who would feel justified in destroying another human life in the name of their religious ideology.

Is this what our society has come to? We can’t bear to let people who don’t hold our views exist on this planet? Can anybody else see the utter hypocrisy of this vitriolic rant? It’s astounding to me that people will be all about environment, social justice, and political correctness, yet reveal a totally unhinged despotic heart when they don’t get their own way!

Finally, the utter irony to me is that we live in a culture that has basically ignored, dismissed, and even mocked Jesus, yet here is a case in point where He has put His finger right on the pulse of what’s wrong with us. His admonition to us is brilliantly relevant and timeless. Maybe if we listened to what He said, we would all find healing and wholeness as a diverse people that He dearly loves.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 40 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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18 Responses to What Kathy Griffin says about us as a society

  1. “To brand someone a “fool” in this biblical sense was a violation of the soul so devastating that, as Jesus saw, it would justify consigning the offender to the smoldering garbage dump of human existence, gehenna.” (The Divine Conspiracy)

    I’m glad you included this. I admit, this has been one of those verses that I could never quite get a handle on.

  2. Excellent casting of our true selves in this age anarchy, hate and disdain for human life. Well written and so true. Thank you for sharing. God bless.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks Steven. What it really does is bring out the absolute brilliance of Jesus’ teaching and why is so profoundly meets us in our darkness.

  3. Wally Fry says:

    Bravo on this one, Mel

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks IB. Your post and other’s inspired me to chime in, too. It really is an important issue that token apologies just won’t glaze over. It should give us pause as to what kind of society we’re going to be in the future. I really hope it’s a better one for our children’s sake.

  4. Pingback: Flying Monkeys | See, there's this thing called biology...

  5. Citizen Tom says:

    Excellent analysis.

    Anger is definitely something we must control. Few consider just how misdirected our emotions can become. We often take out our frustrations most irrationally. Cain killed Abel out of jealously because he was angry with God. Since God runs our lives, it is quite easy to get angry with Him. Yet God is beyond our reach. I guess that is part of the need for humility, to meekly accept God’s authority so we can keep the power He does give us under control..

    • Mel Wild says:

      You’re right. Anger out of control is what has gotten us here. We don’t know how to relate to people we disagree with in a healthy way.

  6. Cindy Powell says:

    “Is this what our society has come to? We can’t bear to let people who don’t hold our views exist on this planet? Can anybody else see the utter hypocrisy of this vitriolic rant? It’s astounding to me that people will be all about environment, social justice, and political correctness, yet reveal a totally unhinged despotic heart when they don’t get their own way!” Thank you for posting this, Mel. Like you, most of the time I stay way out of the realm of politics, but this one bothered me. A lot. For so many of the reasons you have articulated so well. It all makes me so very sad, because it shows just how far we have drifted from His heart. It seems that hatred is now justified as long as we believe we are “righteous” in our views. Of course that particular brand of “righteousness” merely means doing whatever seems right in our own eyes (or, sadly, even in our own interpretation of what is “most right” in scripture). And don’t even get me started on the whole “I am a victim” narrative–utilized by both sides of the divide–that eliminates all necessity for personal responsibility and accepting the consequences of our actions. I love your final line: “Maybe if we listened to what He said, we would all find healing and wholeness as a diverse people that He dearly loves.” Yes Lord, may we come to the place where love is more important to us than being right.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks, Cindy, and amen. It is sad that we are so immature and dysfunctional in our relationships. The irony is, relationship is the very heart and nature of God! It’s who He is within Himself. Love is about relationships. Furthermore, we prove that we actually know God by how we love others. We are to be known by our love for one another, yet we don’t even get this. How do we expect the world to get it?
      I’m totally with you on your prayer. Lord, help us make love the main thing!

  7. Julie says:

    It takes tremendous self-confidence to allow others their beliefs. This current trend in crowd confidence – think like we think of you’re an idiot – makes me appreciate the Ultimate in self-confidence all the more.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Amen, Julie. We are confident because we are loved by Love! We don’t have to validate ourselves by making everyone agree with us. Other-centered love, by definition, means it isn’t all about us, but that we are in a world with very diverse opinions on issues. We can honor others without having to agree with them. And when we do that, real communication begins to happen.

  8. Autumn Cote says:

    Would it be OK if I cross-posted this article to WriterBeat.com? I’ll be sure to give you complete credit as the author. There isx no fee, I’m simply trying to add more content diversity for our community and I liked what you wrote. If “OK” please let me know via email.


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