The Pain in His Face


Life is about pain. The fact that you have it. The fact that you want to relieve it.

Humankind’s connection with God is all about eradicating pain. The truth is we are crippled with pain and need crutches. We are wounded and in need of a Healer. But the post-modern, post-Christian world rejects this idea, making religion appropriate for the weak or ignorant alone.

Karl Marx if often quoted with these words, “Religion is the opiate of the people.”

Here is the full quote in context:

“Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man—state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.”

Michael Jackson was a man in pain. A casual look at his life showed his pain–a quick look at his music, especially some of the lyrics, like early song, “Morphine,” shows his inward suffering. He was screaming to the world that he was in pain!

It seems that few heard him. It seems to me that he was so desperately in pain that he began to change his face, so people would recognize and alleviate his pain. He changed his face until it was freakishly, ghoulishly painful to look at… it became a mirror… a self reflection…

It seems that even his last action was to self administer Demerol to numb the pain–either inward or outward–it was about anesthetizing the throbbing.

He needed more than the opiate of religion. Michael Jackson needed a Healer–to get past the pain, beyond the disappointment and grief… It seems so ironic. He was the king… rich, successful, a god, an idol… and still his pain went unchecked, uncurbed.

I do not advocate religion as an opiate for pain. But I do know about how I have overcome pain personally. It has been through the healing power of Jesus that I have been able to rise above the disappointments and suffering of my life. And I so wish that Michael Jackson would have known my Healer… to know the forgiveness of sin, the joy of forgiving…

When a person receives a healing touch from heaven, then the pain of life moves off center and healing the pain of others become paramount. I believe that Michael Jackson saw a distant glimmer of this in his own life… the way he wanted to make difference in children’s lives…  He had good intentions.

It is too bad that Jackson never overcame his own pain… enough to make an eternal difference. You see, all of his popularity, musical genius, marketing ability, and entrepunurial knack to make millions didn’t mean a thing in God’s kingdom. It’s all wood, hay, and stubble… to be burned and utterly destroyed.

And that’s down right painful.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Marci says:

    Well written and thought provoking. I enjoyed this article and am forwarding the link to some I work with. Blessings to you friend!

  2. Bonnie says:


    Thanks! I hope you are feeling better.


  3. Jeremy says:

    Reminds me of Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”- the pain and scars and maturation of sin can be suppressed by this worlds entrapments- but eventually the cracks will show. Artistry devolves into spectacle, and beauty into horror: eventually the spirit and soul shines through. It’s always amazing to me how this is most evidenced in the aged- one can tell with just a cursory glance whether an old man is jolly or bitter (there isnt much in between), but youth is deceptive!

  4. Bonnie says:

    Jeremy, very astute observations. The amazing thing is that Michael Jackson used his own power and wealth to disfigure his own face. It got creepier and creepier with every procedure… it really was unrelated to aging and the process of sin. If he had kept his natural looks, he would still look deceptively youthful and happy… 50 is not old any more… unfortunately he was in too much pain to leave well enough alone.


  5. Jeremy says:

    yeah, i should have said that, it was kind of a “reverse” Dorian Gray. Instead of hiding his true self in the attic, covered at all times except for small peaks once a year, he was the walking painting, displaying the pain for all to see.

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