Whitney Houston & The Greatest Love of All

A Pop Culture vs. The Bible Post by LaShawnda Jones

But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.  ~ Romans 5:15-17 NLT

My prayer for Whitney is that she was in right relationship with her Lord and Savior before she died on February 11, 2012. In the end, that is all that really matters.

What a talent we were blessed with through her voice and music. I admit to being angry with her in recent years. I am not the sort of person who continues to support people when they are obviously doing wrong. I’ll root for them to do better, but I am not going to stay in their corner when they are not right. I am not the type of consumer who spends a dollar to support a habit either. I am not the enabler that builds a person up with false accolades or a show of faithfulness that is not heartfelt. That said, though I’ve been a life-long admirer of Whitney Houston, purchasing and memorizing various LP’s, cassette tapes and CD’s, I refused to support her financially when her drug addiction became known. During her recovery, her highly publicized attempts to rehabilitate her life and her image, I had hoped she would be successful in her quest. I had hoped that her gift would allow her to rise higher than ever before. But when I heard a selection of songs on her last album, I Look to You, I heard a ravaged blessing — a gift that was taken for granted. Her voice was no longer what it had been.

My anger towards Whitney stemmed from my inability to understand how someone could so willfully destroy their gift. We all have special gifts that God has blessed us with – whether or not we are aware of our gift or not. We are gifted even if we choose not utilize our gift. But God has made a way for our gifts to make room for us in the world and bring us before great people or a great multitude of people (Proverbs 18:16). Our gifts are meant to be a blessing to others.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.  ~ 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 NLT

Remember this: When God blesses you, He intends for you to bless others.

I do understand that people do not comprehend the full scope of the consequences of their actions when they embark on any particular path. They may know in the process of making a decision that things could end up wrong, but invariably they assume that the worst won’t happen to them. I’m not just talking about Whitney; I’m talking about everyone – I’m talking about you – I’m talking about me. We are aware, on some level, that our choices can have some consequences, repercussions and unintended results. We all make and will continue to make choices that harm our life, that can bring harm to others and that we later wish we had not done. But when we make the decision to do that which we later wish we had not done, we don’t consider or even imagine, the magnitude of the situation that one small choice will get us into. [Picture Adam and Eve here.] Our wrong choices aren’t a surprise to God. He isn’t shocked when we mess up. However, His Spirit is greived when we choose to stay in our mess. He is hurt when we don’t correct ourselves and repent – when we don’t turn back to Him and accept the love sacrifice He provided for us in Jesus Christ, the Greatest Love of All.

Learning to Love Yourself…

I believe the children are our are future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be
Everybody searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone to fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all

And if by chance, that special place
That you’ve been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love

from The Greatest Love of All; Lyrics by Michael Masser and Linda Creed; Performed by Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston, 1986

Learning to love yourself is only a step towards receiving the greatest love of all. The single, The Greatest Love of All by Whitney on her debut album, Whitney Houston was released in early 1986. I was ten years old. I was being abused at that time and this song became my anthem. I wrote the lyrics down and kept them memorized – I can still sing this song from memory. I was a child and according to the lyrics, I was the future. No matter what was going on in my home life, there was something inside of me that I could depend on. There was something inside of me that would strengthen me. No matter what they (my abusers) took from me, they couldn’t take away my dignity (sense of self). I didn’t’ have to live in the shadow of my abuse – there was something greater in the light. Though the man who should have been my hero was the man destroying my innocence, I didn’t have to live in a destroyed state – I could rise and walk on my own strength (John 5:1-15; see Just do it – Get Up and Walk!). Whitney was the first person to ever tell me to find my strength in love. What a concept.

There is no better principle to live by.

Through this song, Whitney Houston blessed my life in an incomparable way.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)

Looking back from my perspective today, I will say that God was speaking to me in a way that I could comprehend at that time. Through the years, He has led me into a deeper understanding of love. Love is at the center of every transformative and transitional moment of my life. If you look, you will see that it is also at the center of all of your pivotal life moments as well.

Nearly fifteen years after The Greatest Love of All was released and changed me from the inside, Love evolved into Forgiveness for me. For the sake of love (in my case, love for my deceased mother), I was willing to forgive my dad for his abuse of me in my youth. I actively went after him to explain my decision to forgive him (as a gift, not for him, but for my dearly departed mother who had loved him) and my desire for a reconciled relationship with him.

Step by step, God has and continues to show me what love is – in very difficult and painful situations. Yet I have not shied away from the challenge of pursuing love. I embraced it – even then – wholeheartedly, before I knew I was in a process of change; way before I recognized God had me in hand.

Forgiveness evolves into Reconciliation.

Full reconciliation was never achieved with my dad. He wasn’t interested in discussing our history; he kept putting it off for another time. He died while our relationship was in a broken state over another matter altogether – and we had never reconciled our relationship from the first breach. For this reason, the failure of reconciling a significant relationship in my life, I know that oppotunities to reconcile will present themselves in other relationships until I make that manifestation of God’s love active and visable in my daily life.

Love evolves. Love stretches us. It grows us. It teaches us. Love is more than an emotion and a feeling – it’s a way of life. Where would I be today without love? Without learning that love lives in me? Without learning that I can offer love as a gift? Without learning that I can accept love as a peace offering to heal a relationship? Where would any of us be without love?

The life of Jesus is by far the greatest example of the process of love and its evolutionary results. Jesus was given to the world first as a seed in a young woman’s womb. He was nurtured as a child and educated as a disciple of the One True God, who made Him a leader to the masses. Through the process of His physical death, Jesus provided the opportunity for eternal life for every human being. Jesus came for a purpose. He died for a purpose. He rose for a purpose. Jesus was given for a purpose.

For Love.

John 3:16 says: For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (NLT). Because of love, God gave. He sacrificed. He allowed life. He allowed fellowship through His gift of love — Jesus Christ is the way for us to get right and stay right with Our Father in Heaven.

Yes Jesus loves me for the Bible tells me so
Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong
They are weak but he is strong

Yes Jesus loves me
Oh, yes Jesus loves me
Yes Jesus loves me for the Bible tells me so

Pressing on the up away
Always guide me Lord I pray
Undeserving, and stubbornly never fail to love me still

Yes Jesus loves me
Oh yes Jesus loves me
Oh yes Jesus loves me, for the Bible tells me so
Yes Jesus loves me, love
Oh yes Jesus loves me for the Bible tells me so
For the Bible tells me so

(Feels so good to know) that I’m never alone
See, sometimes I’m lonely but never alone
For the Bible tells, for the Bible tells
For the Bible tells me so

Jesus Loves Me; Written by Benjamin Winans & Cedric Caldwell; Performed by Whitney Houston, The Bodyguard, 1992 

Other Pop Culture vs. The Bible Posts

Pop Culture Messiah (Michael Jackson)

Amy Winehouse: When did she live?

Things Charlie Sheen Has Taught Me

For the Sake of His Praise

Whitney Houston & The Greatest Love of All

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