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Enamored of Imperfect Imposters


One of my favorite secular songs to contemplate is This is Gospel by Panic! At the Disco. There are some lyrics in that song that I don't consider to be, strictly speaking, appropriate, so I can't recommend that you go and listen to it, but there's one line (ironically, the part directly after the objectionable content) that stands out in my mind:
This is gospel for the vagabonds
*Rapid, uncomfortable humming*
Led away by imperfect imposters
That last line stands out in my mind, as Brendon Urie (the singer/songwriter behind the song) is referencing the human tendency to be deceived and stray away from the light in favor of things that look good— but the goodness is a ruse. As always, scripture says it best:
2 Timothy 2:12-15: Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Before I delve further into my conclusion, allow me to explain my inspiration. This idea really hit me earlier today, as I was considering a surprising turn of events. I was caught unaware by strange behavior on the part of some close friends of mine. I don't want to mull on what happened, but suffice it to say that their actions left me feeling betrayed, but even more importantly, I felt guilty. These are people I dearly love (present tense) and respect a lot. Some of the things they said temporarily shattered my self confidence and left me scrambling to pick up the pieces of my identity. After thinking about what happened and our past relationship, I realized that 1) I should have seen this coming and 2) I have no business placing anyone on a pedestal in that way. These people are just as flawed as me, and it's not healthy for me to idolize them thusly. This helped me to feel at peace, but I still had (have?) some thoughts.

First of all, I am not alone in always searching for the best in people. This behavior makes it easy to ignore major character flaws and warning signs, and usually ends in being dramatically let down. We struggle to accept the defects of others, because doing so suggests that we ourselves may have those defects. It's not a happy thought, but fortunately (sarcasm) we can mitigate any negative consequences by judging others! What a relief. On a more serious note, when we revere people like that, we don't judge their ideas according to the same standard as we would judge other new concepts. This is dangerous, and can be a major obstacle in our relationship with Christ.

Secondly, while these "imperfect imposters" are partially to blame for their deception, we are just as much at fault. The Truth is of God, and is one of our most powerful weapons against the darkness. Satan, however, is the Prince of Lies, and uses our ignorance to his advantage. Ignorance allowed the Catholic Church to control the people of the medieval church; it's constantly being used in advertisements to sell us products we have no business buying; and it's the primary theme in many (if not most) dystopian stories. These lies can be factual lies, but oftentimes they are more insidious, causing harmful personal beliefs and unhealthy dependencies. We need to be warriors for the Truth, and we majorly weaken our defenses (our "shield" against ignorance) when we allow ourselves to become distracted.

Finally, when we allow ourselves to become enamored of anyone or anything in this fashion, we become idolaters. In order to find ourselves at peace, we need God in our lives, but we're easily distracted by the first "shiny" thing to cross our paths. We're so busy chasing the butterflies in our lives— constantly trying to fill the hole in our souls— that we forget that we're actually rebelling against the one thing (the One Person) who can fill that hole. That's a fundamental truth that I believe we need to be reminded of more often, as it becomes an obstacle again and again.
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