There aren’t many Hollywood actors who are willing to speak publicly in favor of Christianity. In fact, you could probably count them on the one hand.
But on Monday night, as actor Chris Pratt accepted MTV’s Generation Award, he thanked his family and then offered some words of Christian wisdom to the younger generation.
“This being the Generation Award,” he said, “I’m going to cut to the chase, and I am going to speak to you, the next generation. I accept the responsibility as your elder. So, listen up.”
In the moments that followed, Pratt offered fans nine rules for life.
Some of the rules gave practical moral advice. “Don’t be a turd. If you are strong, be a protector. If you are smart, be a humble influencer.”
Others were silly. “When giving a dog medicine, put the medicine in a little piece of hamburger and they won’t even know they’re eating medicine.”
But surprisingly, the larger number of Pratt’s rules were religious. And, given Hollywood’s penchant for condescension toward people of faith, his rules were downright refreshing.
Rule 2: “You have a soul. Be careful with it.”
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.”
Why do I find Chris Pratt’s speech so refreshing?
Not because it was funny at points, although it was. Not because he gave some good moral advice, although he did.
No, the reason I found it refreshing is because it spoke truth in the face of a lie.
That’s right. When Chris Pratt took center stage at the MTV Movie & TV Awards on Monday, he uncorked some truth that we thought would never flow from the lips of an A-list actor at a televised award show.
In the face of our culture’s lie that people are fine just the way they are, that we don’t need God’s forgiveness, that Jesus’ spilled blood is irrelevant for enlightened people, Chris Pratt told a room full of celebrities – and the rest of the country via television – that we’re not fine just the way we are, that we do need God’s forgiveness, and that Jesus’ spilled blood is relevant.
And if I could take a moment to fill out the picture, I would add four more rules:
Rule 1: Take a moment each day to reflect on the fact that God is the creative force behind the world we live in. He’s the reason there is something rather than nothing. He created the world as his good kingdom, a place where humanity could flourish, and in which there would be no evil.
Rule 2: Always remember that the evil we experience in this world does not come from God. It comes from humans – from each one of us, in fact. None of us are perfect. We’re not just fine the way we are. Far from it. We’re sinners. We need forgiveness and spiritual empowerment.
Rule 3: But don’t despair. God sent a Savior, and his name is Jesus. And even as powerful people were conspiring to spill Jesus’ blood on a cross, God himself was working to save the world from itself, once and for all. Through the crucifixion, Jesus “traded places” with us. He lived the sinless life that we should have lived, and died the death that we, a rebel race, deserved to die. He took our guilty record, died for it, and offers us his perfect record in return. That is why the apostle Paul declared that “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1).
Rule 4: Embrace Jesus. Believe in his salvation. Trust in him to forgive your sins – no matter how bad they are – and transform your heart. He will not push you away or turn you down (John 3:16).
As I point out in “Letters to an American Christian,” these are truths that our culture needs to hear. We should be thankful that Chris Pratt got the conversation started.
I mean, heck, if you’re standing in a room of Hollywood stars looking for somebody to speak publicly in favor of Christianity, good luck. A-listers like that are harder to find than the plot of a Steven Seagal movie.
But on Monday night, we got lucky. Or, as we Christians like to say, we got blessed. We were served a slice of truth in a culture that offers a buffet of lies. Let’s be thankful for that truth and hope that it gets a little traction.