We all love Amy Winehouse. Maybe we don’t all love Winehouse specifically. For some of us it’s Lindsay Lohan, The Peoples’ Court (my personal favorite) or gossip about the weird neighbor down the street – but we all love her. What we really love is people whose lives seem to be train wrecks. We love these people because, even on our worst day, we’re way better than they are . . . aren’t we?
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the last couple days you’ve heard of Amy Winehouse. She’s most famous for her song “Rehab,” where the singer with one of the most unfortunately appropriate last names sings “they tried to make me go to rehab, I said ‘No, no, no'”. Now she’s the newest member of the 27 club after her “unexplained” death on Saturday. Her cause of death may be “unexplained,” but her life of public struggles with drugs and alcohol was not.
The Sober Truth (Sorry for the lame pun)
The truth is that you are Amy Winehouse – and so am I. Every single one of us has been captured by a sin that, if it were as deadly as drug and alcohol addiction, we would be dead too.
So what we can really learn from Amy Winehouse has nothing to do with her. There’s a reason we’re all captivated by lives that are spinning out of control. We desperately want to be righteous, and we know that we’re not. The Amy Winehouses of this world pique our interest because their obvious unrighteousness enhances our perceived righteousness. They have become functional saviors.
There is a much better way to look at other peoples’ lives. Instead of trying desperately to obtain a righteousness we can never achieve on our own, we should look to the true and greater savior – Jesus.
The Good News
The good news of the Bible begins with bad news. The bad news is that our best attempt at righteousness stinks. According to the Bible, “we have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (Isaiah 64:6 ESV). This isn’t talking about our bad days, this is talking about our good days.
Fortunately it doesn’t stop there. Because of Jesus, we can get what Martin Luther calls “the great exchange.” We literally give God a trade. He takes our stinking righteousness and imputes (gives) Jesus’ righteousness to us. “The Lord laid upon Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6 ESV). Jesus literally took on our sin, so that we can put on His righteousness. “For our sake he made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV).
I think that’s way more buzzworthy news. Who knows, maybe I’m just sensitive because Amy Winehouse was my age . . .