How Should We Respond To Christians Like Chris Pratt?

How Should We Respond To Christians Like Chris Pratt?

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Attention: If you haven’t read the first article in the series, please consider reading it, as it lays a biblical foundation for this article. You can find it here: [Click Me!]

Who is Chris Pratt?

Chris Pratt is a famous American actor most well known for his roles in the tv show Parks and Recreation and recent movies series such as Jurassic World, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Avengers.

Chris Pratt’s Story

Chris Pratt was born in Virginia, Minnesota on June 21, 1979. Chris was your average boy throughout his childhood, he wasn’t the most popular, but he also wasn’t an outcast either. Chris was active in his high school’s athletic program, being a part of both his high school football and wrestling team. At one point, Chris was even the top high school wrestler in his state. Chris participated in his school’s drama team as both a writer and actor for his school’s plays. His early experience in stage acting definitely had an influence on his future career as an actor. Yet, during his education, Chris says he never had any goals or ambitions for his life and wasn’t proactive about his future.

During high school, the Pratt family experienced significant financial troubles, they eventually lost their home and had to downsize. Because of this, Chris moved in with a friend after graduation and started going to community college. However, his college career was short live, as he dropped out halfway through his first semester. Chris worked as a part-time waiter but eventually left the job to work in what he would later discover was a pyramid scheme. After 15 months selling discount tickets as a door-to-door salesman and being more in debt than ever before, Chris quit his job and returned home. When he arrived, he found his friends had purchased him a one-way ticket to Hawaii, a ticket that would end up changing Chris’s life forever.

Chris figured if you’re homeless, you might as well be homeless somewhere beautiful, so he took the ticket and flew to Hawaii. Once there, Chris got a job at a local Bubba Gump restaurant and lived with his friends in a van and a series of tents on the beach. (if you want to see what that looked like you can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSbvC-COHdM) His days were filled with cheap alcohol, pot, and wild parties. But Chris was unhappy, and he wanted more than the life he currently had.

One day Chris and his friends wanted to party, and since they were all broke, they convinced a local man to buy them some alcohol. While Chris was waiting for his friends to return, he met an individual who changed his life forever. I’ll let Chris tell this part of his story.

“In Maui, about four weeks before I was discovered to go to California, I was hanging with my buddy. I wasn’t quite old enough to drink, so we got somebody to go in and buy us some alcohol. This guy came by and was like, ‘What are you doing tonight?’ I was like, ‘Oh, I dunno. I was just gonna wait out here, my friends are gonna buy me a bottle of Carlo Rossi and a sixer of Milwaukee’s Best Ice. So he’s like, ‘Will you fornicate tonight?’ I was like, ‘I hope so.’ ‘And drugs and drinking?’ It’s like, ‘Most likely, yeah. Probably all three of those things. I mean, at least two of them, possibly all three.’ He was like, ‘I stopped because Jesus told me to stop and talk to you. He said to tell you you’re destined for great things.’ My friends came out, and I was like, ‘Hey, I’m gonna go with this guy.’ I gave my soul to Jesus within, like, two days. I was stuffing envelopes for his organization, Jews for Jesus. I’m not even sure, at that age—I was nineteen years old—I knew what Jewish was.” 1

So it only took one Christian telling Chris about God’s love for him and the salvation Christ provided for him to change his life forever. Shortly after his salvation, Chris was approached with an opportunity to act in Hollywood, an event Chris explains as God calling him to a career that he could use to represent Christ to others. While many people may say this, Chris has taken opportunities to act on it. Here’s a quick summary of Chris’s journey as a Christian.

In 2012, when asked how he had coped with the news that his son, Jack, would likely be special needs, Chris told People magazine, “We were scared for a long time. We prayed a lot. It restored my faith in God, not that it needed to be restored, but it really redefined it.” 2 (By God’s grace Jack was born perfectly healthy.)

In 2014, Chris shared his testimony with Esquire, which we previously quoted in this article.

In 2015, it was made public knowledge that Chris refused to participate in filming any sex scenes due to his faith and would “no longer bare his body for anyone but his wife.” 3

In 2016, despite just making a claim a year earlier that he wouldn’t film a sex scene, it was revealed that Chris Pratt had recently filmed a sex scene for the 2016 movie, Passengers.4

In January 2018, Chris Pratt filed for divorce from his wife, Anna Faris, whom he had married in 2009. Though no specific reason for the divorce was ever made public, some speculate it was due to religious differences since Chris Pratt was a Christian, but Anna Faris was an atheist who saw church as more of social construct rather than a truth-presenting institution.5

In June 2018, Chris Pratt gave his “9 rules” speech after receiving the MTV Generation Award.6 Out of these 9 rules, 5 specifically dealt with God or our spiritual duties. The five are as follows:

Rule 2: “You have a soul. Be careful with it.”

Rule 5: “It doesn’t matter what it is. Earn it. A good deed. Reach out to someone in pain. Be of service. It feels good, and it’s good for your soul.”

Rule 6: “God is real. God loves you, God wants the best for you. Believe that, I do.”

Rule 8: “Learn to pray. It’s easy, and it is so good for your soul.”

Rule 9: “Nobody is perfect. People will tell you that you are perfect just the way that you are, you are not! You are imperfect. You always will be, but there is a powerful force that designed you that way, and if you are willing to accept that, you will have grace. And grace is a gift. Like the freedom that we enjoy in this country, that grace was paid for with somebody else’s blood. Do not forget that. Don’t take that for granted.”

In August 2018, After winning the Choice Summer Movie Actor award, Chris told the audience “I want to thank God. I always do that when I’m up on a platform in front of a bunch of young faces. I love God, that’s my thing. I love him! And you should too!7

In December 2018, Chris Pratt was invited to Disneyland to be the narrator of the Christmas story for the candlelight ceremony. At the end of the ceremony, Chris Pratt went off script to help people understand God’s love by saying,

“For me, being a parent has really changed my life in so many ways. And one of those ways is to understand, truly, the love that a father could have for a child. When I stare at this precious little creation of mine here, and I watch the ways in which he tries to please me, I just fill with a love that I feel is so pure, and unending. The way we love our children, the more we love our children, the more we will understand the capacity for our Father in heaven to love us. Each and every one of us a precious creation, and he just marvels in the ways that we can try to please Him. That should give us a great deal of comfort. I know it does for me. This holiday season, let us embrace every one of our tomorrows with hope and love. And through this holiday spirit may we continue to spread peace and goodwill throughout the world. Thank you, and Merry Christmas!"8

In January 2019, Chris Pratt got engaged to Katherine Schwarzenegger, a fellow attendee of Chris Pratt’s Church, and the eldest daughter of famous actor and former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Both Chris and Katherine emphasize that their faith in Christ is the glue that holds their relationship together. They both made statements that they wouldn’t move in together because of their moral principles. However, Shortly after the engagement, the two moved in together, as they considered an engagement enough commitment for cohabitation.9

UPDATE: On June 8th, 2019, Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger got married in a private ceremony at San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, California.10

How Should We Respond to Christians Like Chris Pratt?

Christians like Chris Pratt are Christians who have a sincere desire to walk-the-walk of Christianity but stumble along the way. They don’t want to simply say they are Christians, they want to live it out. They use their platform that their jobs and hobbies give them as an opportunity to tell others about what Christ has done for them. But they still aren’t perfect and have some major hurdles they have to face. They are people who are quick to make claims on the standards they want to follow because of the Scriptures, but they don’t always have success in staying faithful to those claims.

No one is perfect, not you, not me, nobody. Sometimes it’s easy for us to judge people more harshly because they committed “bigger” sins than we have. Chris Pratt has been divorced, filmed a sex scene he said he’d never do and moved in with a woman before he was married to her. These are what people consider “big” sins. But let’s remember, all sin is bad, these sins are just a lot more visible than other types of sin. Just because someone has committed these highly-visible sins, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be used by God anymore. God forgives, God heals, and God is the one who enables us in ministry. Christians who have these struggles aren’t necessarily fake Christians, they’re humans who stumble like you and me, except they may be struggling in different areas.

I believe Chris Pratt loves God, he goes to church, he tells other people about Him, and he’s moving in the right direction by speaking about Christ more and more as the years go on. I hope that one day Chris can get over these hurdles he faces, and I hope that others won’t let his past mistakes define who he is in Christ. When Christians stumble as Chris Pratt has in the past, how should we respond to them? What does the Bible say about it?

In the last article, we focused on how we should not respond to Christians who are struggling with current or past sins, but today, I’ll be focusing on how we should respond. If you missed the last article, I’d recommend you go back and read it so that you don’t miss what we’ve already discussed.

In a simple three-part statement, our responsibility to stumbling Christians is to encourage them in Christ, help them get back on track, and remind them that Christ is bigger than their shortcomings. If a believer has already repented of their sins or rectified the situation, then there is no need for us to condemn them, the Spirit has already done His work, and it is time for us to do our jobs by being an encouragement to them.

On the other hand, if a Christian is living contrary to Scripture and is either ignorant of their sin or in rebellion, then it is our responsibility to encourage our brothers and sisters to return to what is right. However, we can only do so if we can correct them with a properly loving attitude. If not, it would be better for us to leave the correcting to someone else, after all, if we correct in pride or judgment, then we sin ourselves. Adding an extra sin into the situation isn’t going to fix the issue at hand. Galatians 6:1-2 warns us about this when Paul says,

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”

There are many things this verse tells us. First, that to fix one who is at fault, you yourself must be spiritual, that is, one who is in the right and pursuing right. If you aren’t walking the walk yourself, don’t try to fix other people. If you have a beam in your eye, get it out first. (Matthew 7:5) Second, it says that we must correct in meekness, that is, humility. When we fail to correct others with humility, we only correct so we can boast in our own self-righteousness. A correction done with the wrong motivation can be a sin in itself. Thirdly, we are told that correction is not about telling people what to do, but rather, about helping them by assisting them in carrying their burden. The purpose of correction is to help those around us by lifting them up, not by guilt-tripping them and knocking them down. So before we choose to correct someone else, we should carefully consider ourselves and see where we are and why we have a desire to speak up. Don't correct, unless you are ready to help carry.

In certain situations, it may not be the best choice for us to take an immediate stand and confront an individual in sin. In some situations, especially those where the person in error doesn’t have a close relationship with us, it’s better to talk to another Christian they are close to who has a deeper relationship with them and allow them to be the one who encourages them to change their sinful behavior. The last thing we want to do is to come across as meddlers who are correcting others because of a superiority complex. However, when it is the proper time to correct, the Bible gives us clear instruction on how to deal with the one in error.  

“And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15)

While this verse tells us we need to separate from disobedient Christians, this separation isn’t as severe as some may present it to be. In some traditions, people consider this separation to mean we must cut off all contact with them and pretend they do not exist, but this is not what the verse is saying. Despite there being a separation, Paul reminds us not to consider these struggling Christians as enemies, but as our brothers. There are two things to consider from this passage. One, that backslidden Christians are not to be disowned because they are still our brothers. And two, that backslidden Christians are not our enemies. So when we are to separate from believers, we are to separate from their actions and lifestyle, not them entirely. The purpose of these verses is to warn us to avoid being close friends with sinful believers so that their sinful lifestyle doesn’t drag us down. Iron does sharpen iron after all. (Proverbs 27:17) If it genuinely meant cut-and-dry separation, then how would we be able to be there to admonish them? (which means to gently warn or correct them).

It is also interesting that this verse takes the time to mention that we shouldn’t think of them as enemies, a reminder which we also have in Ephesians 6:12 which says,

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

It’s easy for us to forget that our fellow man is not our enemy. Atheists, agnostics, backslidden Christians, and people of other religions are not the enemy. When we think they are, we fall victim to the real enemy, Satan. Remember, he’s the father of lies, this is just another one he tries to get us to believe! If we consider those that don’t live the Christian life as enemies, then we will never be able to fulfill our Christian duty to love them as our neighbor!

1 Corinthians 13 reminds us that without love as the foundation of our Christianity, we cannot do anything, or as verse two says, We are “nothing.” So our obvious duty to the Christian who slips up is to love them, and I don’t mean it in a “tough love” kind of way. We don’t need to be brutish about it, we need to have other’s best interest at heart. You can’t force someone to follow Christ, if they do it because they are forced to, then it’s just as bad as not doing it at all. We are reminded time and time again that we are supposed to serve God because we want to.

In the area of money
“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7)

In the area of ministry
“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;”

In the area of employment
“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”

Pressuring people into a “Christian walk” will never result in them having that Christian walk. To live properly as a Christian one has to have their actions be a willful choice. You can’t do as Romans 12:1 says and “present your bodies a living sacrifice” under duress. It no longer becomes a sacrifice but a forced lifestyle. This is why the Scriptures teach “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Cor. 5:5)

If a Christian chooses to leave the faith for a sinful lifestyle, then there is a point where we must let them go. If we have lovingly tried to encourage them to the right path and they still reject our correction, then we have to be able to let it go. That doesn’t mean we stop praying for them or completely give up on them, but we do need to realize that people have choices in life and they are theirs to make, not ours. We cannot try to manage everyone else’s life, our primary focus should be to manage our own walk and assist others who want to be more like Christ. Matthew 10:14 lays down the example for this,

“And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.”

We see this example extended into the church age in Act 13:51, so it appears to be an ongoing example. If we cannot persuade an individual, it’s time to shake the dust off our feet and move on to a “new city.” This applies both to trying to lead people to Christ and correcting a fellow Christian. There are many willing souls who will accept the invitation to salvation or correction as a Christian. By getting caught up on those who reject, we miss the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those who are willing. So continue to pray and watch for a change of heart. It may come in time, but don’t forget to move forward so that you can reach others as well. The time is short, and there are many who need to hear words of hope.

As we close this series on responding to Christians, I want you to take away these three things.

First, that we are all sinners, even the best of us. We should not idolize “perfect” Christians, because they do not exist. We should remain level-headed and realize that we are all equals. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and we all need each other for spiritual support  

Second, that an individual’s past does not define them. God gives grace, and God changes lives. When a person enters God’s fold, receive them as they are, and encourage them to grow. Teach and train them in love regardless of their outward appearance or history. God can do great things with them just as he can with you and I.

Third, and last of all. Correct your brothers and sisters with love. Pick them up when they stumble and carry each other’s burdens. This world will eat us alive, and that’s why God tells us to stick together. Do not give up on the brother who falls, but also do not try to live his life for him. Love never fails, and love covers a multitude of sins. So love each other unconditionally. Love them and let them go if you must, but never give up on them. Pray that they will turn around by their own will and seek the right path. And when they do, receive them without condemnation, carry their burdens together, and help them walk the right path.

I pray that this series has been beneficial and you’ve learned a thing or two along the way. As we go throughout our days, may we all learn to treat each other with the love and respect that God desires from us.

Until next time,
grace, and peace out.

 

References:

1) https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/a32814/chris-pratt-interview-0914/

2) https://www.charismanews.com/culture/44878-how-chris-pratt-s-premature-son-restored-his-faith-in-god

3) https://www.nationalenquirer.com/celebrity/chris-pratt-bans-sex-scenes/

4) https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2016/12/19/jennifer-lawrence-chris-pratt-found-passengers-space-sex-totally-awkward/95569418/

5) https://people.com/movies/inside-chris-pratt-anna-faris-unusual-divorce/

6) https://youtu.be/EihqXHqxri0?t=83, https://www.christianradio.com/features/video/hollywood-actor-chris-pratt-shares-about-being-pro-jesus-in-a-recent-interview/

7) https://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=YYDPWPNX

8) https://youtu.be/yLGzopqRZ8g?t=3043

9) https://www.her.ie/celeb/chris-pratt-katherine-schwarzenegger-refused-live-together-got-engaged-445165

10) https://www.eonline.com/news/1048020/chris-pratt-and-katherine-schwarzenegger-marry-in-romantic-california-wedding

Outline of Chris Pratt's early life based on information from the following article:
(https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/01/chris-pratt-cover-story)

Featured Image by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chris_Pratt_(43672959202).jpg

 

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