|PIC1|During a call with Barbara Walters, Paris Hilton said, "I used to act dumb. It was an act. I am 26 years old, and that act is no longer cute," according to an account posted by Walters on ABC's Web site. After an awakening that being placed in jail has brought about, Hilton goes on to say, "Now, I would like to make a difference. ... God has given me this new chance."
Yes, Paris, God has given you a new chance. And you can rejoice because God offers to you the same chance that he gives to anyone who will turn away from his or her Godless life style. You will not be penalized in any way because of your wealth or status, but will not be given a different path either. As with anyone, your path will require change.
Now what does God require of you? According to the book of Micah, God does not want you to make a sacrifice of things that money can buy, but is looking for changes in the way you live. Simply stated, the Lord's requirement is for you "to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
To act justly is to realize that that each of us stand equally before the Lord of Heaven and that none is given special privileges because of fame and riches or offered less because of being of low esteem or destitute. This recognition then results in attitudes and actions that treats every person as you would like to be treated. Every person is offered dignity and respect because of who God is, not because of the earthly parents we have, no matter how good or lacking they may be.
To love mercy is to understand that regardless of what you have done in the past, God is willing to forgive if you truly repent and walk in the ways of faith. This mercy and forgiveness is made available because of the absolute price of forgiveness that was paid to each of us in the example of Jesus Christ, who gave his life freely as a ransom for many. Because of the undeserved mercy that God has given, you can then show mercy to others and forgive those who have hurt you.
To walk humbly with your God is to truly live the "simple life," a life of simple obedience and faith. Don't live your life trying to please yourself or others, but make your goal a life that pleases God. Be a "positive" role model to the many young people who look up to you. Look for ways to help others, whether or not anyone is watching. Walk worthy of the Lord who has given you this fresh opportunity. You can make a difference!
Yes, you have done some dumb things in the past, but so have all of us! Don't let this moment of clarity slip away. Yes, Paris, God has given you a "New Chance!"
James M. Stevens
Senior Music and Culture Advisor
Dr. James Michael Stevens is a prolific musician and published composer of over 200 songs. Winner of numerous ASCAP Standard Awards for Composition, he has formally served as President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee as Chairman of the Music Department at Free Will Baptist Bible College.