Of Johnny Cash and Johnny Depp

Of Johnny Cash and Johnny Depp
(AP Photo/Joe Tabacca, File)

Before he passed away in 2003, Johnny Cash recorded a stark, sparse version of the traditional American folk song “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” The song’s video, released three years after Cash’s death, features brief appearances by a collection of pop culture figures who individually and collectively have lived life to such a degree it’s surprising they were all still alive for the video’s creation. Toward the end, look for a guitar-holding man who’s been in the news lately.

Yes, that is Johnny Depp.

A recent news story highlights a not unexpected fact, namely that internet searches regarding the Depp vs. Amber Heard defamation trial far outnumber those connected to the abortion furor. To a degree, this ties in with the prevailing theme among voters. Namely, the economy is far outstripping abortion in importance as far as issues are concerned. That said, there is a deeper, seldom discussed truth at play.

It may come as a surprise, but the aforementioned truth has nothing to do with pop culture’s endless fascination with celebrities behaving badly and obsession over trivial pursuits far outstripping critical societal issues. Certainly, there is escapism at play. It’s far easier to devote attention toward lifestyles of the ridiculous and facetious than constantly mull over current realities: inflation, gas prices, baby formula shortage, stuff like that. A person can take only so much bad news before looking for a diversion. Yet this observation also misses the truth.

We are seeing two terribly broken people who brought out the absolute worst in one another and are now fighting like mad to prove the other one is at fault. The court of public opinion sways with the wind; how the actual court will decide on Depp’s defamation case against Heard remains to be seen.

There is a greater truth overshadowing all of the above. Namely, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Jesus loves, and died for, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. He loves, and died for, the fangirl outside the courtroom squealing for her Johnny as well as the passionate Amber Heard believer pounding out her 35th tweet today in Heard’s defense. Jesus loves the broken and the brokenhearted. He has the power to reach the seemingly unreachable, be they the pampered and fêted celebrity, street or trailer-dwelling societal dregs, or everyone and everyone deemed in-between.

Make no mistake, however. Those who boastfully brand themselves with “only God can judge me” are in for a terrifying surprise when they learn He not only can judge them, but indeed will. There is a reason why Solomon wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The genuinely wise acknowledge both God’s sovereignty and their own mortality. Neither celebrity nor association with same create a fire escape. Only Christ’s love, embraced via faith, saves the individual from being cut down. Scripture warns us that it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. No exceptions. Not even for Captain Jack Sparrow or Mera.

Here’s hoping that even as people scour the Internet looking for the latest salacious sound bytes from Depp vs. Heard, the still small voice speaks to them, reminding them there is a far greater Truth they should seek. For that matter, here’s hoping both Depp and Heard follow Johnny Cash’s example of a pill-popping hellbent hellraiser who let Jesus turn his life around.

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