FIRST-PERSON: Michael Jackson's love
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--"I love you," Michael Jackson told his fans.
He flashed the peace sign.
He seemed to be a kind soul, apart from the brash, angry look that typified much of his on-stage persona.
He loved children but found himself in court on child molestation charges, whether contrived by opportunist accusers or real victims.
His friends say he wanted to leave the world a better place.
Perhaps, to some extent, he succeeded. I, for one, am a better person thanks to Michael Jackson.
To explain: A day or so after his death, I began asking myself, What was this love that Michael Jackson attempted to express to his fans? As best I can tell, it was lacking in definition; it was simply Michael Jackson's love. And now that he's gone, we're left to figure it out on our own, perhaps from his music, his autobiography and the many articles and books that have been written and will be written about him. I don't know what actually can be learned about this love, or that Michael Jackson even knew what it was.
I became a better person, though, when I realized something new about love that I could share with folks.
Christian love has definition.
It is wholesome.
And it far transcends the love of a Michael Jackson or of any entertainer who attempts to impart it to his or her fans.
Here's but one example from Scripture, taken from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians in the New Testament: "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ -- to the glory and praise of God" (chapter 1, verses 9-11).
Imagine, a love that yields wisdom and wholesomeness.
Here's another example, from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Ephesians: "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God" (chapter 3, verses 16-19).
Imagine, a soul-stirring, sweeping, supernaturally imparted love from God.
Michael Jackson, despite his musical genius, couldn't give us this kind of love.
Only Christ can.
Art Toalston is editor of Baptist Press. To read more about the supernatural love of God that can give new birth to the human soul, go to http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=17467.