Most, though, have heard of Freddie Mercury, the superstar of the rock group Queen. By the time he died in 1994, Farrokh Bulsara (that is, Freddie Mercury) had sold more than 100 million albums, including classics such as “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” “We Will Rock You,” and “We Are the Champions.” These were the songs that made Farrokh (Freddie) rich and famous.
Freddie himself was worth about $75 million, give or take a million or two. On one birthday he rented an entire floor of New York City’s elite Berkshire Hotel, and flew his friends in via the Concorde. The waiters wore nothing but body paint that had been applied by a famous artist. Hundreds and hundreds of bottles of expensive alcohol disappeared within hours. Freddie’s birthday party lasted for days.
Freddie Mercury had it all: power, money, fame, talent, lovers—everything and anything that anyone could ever want.
Well, not quite. Just before he died of AIDS at 46, Freddie issued this his final press release. Here are the superstar’s last public words, the words of a man who had everything—or so it seemed:
“You can have everything in the world and still be the loneliest man, and that is the bitterest type of loneliness. I’ve had lots of lovers. I’ve tried relationships on either side male and female. But all of them have gone wrong. Success has brought me idolization and millions of dollars, but it has prevented me from having the one thing that we all need: a loving, ongoing relationship.”
Work It Out
What was the problem?
The one thing Freddie wanted, the one thing he said that we all need—a loving, ongoing relationship—was the one thing even Freddie’s money and parties and fame couldn’t deliver.
Most of us are not a Freddie Mercury, of course, and though we don’t have everything that the world offers, we can relate to some degree to Freddie’s pain over the lack of good relationships.
Sure, maybe not all of our relationships have gone wrong as his did, but probably many have. We see it all around us—at home, at work, among friends, even among nations. Human beings seem to have a hard time getting along. Sadly, it’s often the relationships with the ones with whom we are closest—the one who love us and whom we love—that go sour. And that makes it all that much more painful. It’s bad enough not to get along with people we don’t know that well, but the fights and conflicts among those who once loved each other (or maybe still do) can be the most bitter. There’s a reason, perhaps, that civil wars tend to be the most bloodthirsty of all wars. We seem to have a knack to hurt the ones we love the most.
We’ve gone to the moon. We can fly around the world at supersonic speeds. We can plunge to the bottom of the sea and build computers that can do billions of calculations in seconds, but we still haven’t learned how to have healthy, moral relationships.
Over the years all sorts of books have been written by doctors and psychologists with the purpose of helping us get along better. And maybe they have helped. However, unless they get to the root of the problem, they will give only something cosmetic, something temporary.
What is the root of all alienation, sickness, heartache, and pain? Sin! Plain and simple as that. It all comes from what sin has done to us. It has made us self-centered and selfish. It has made us care about ourselves before anyone else. How can relationships survive when all the time, in our own way, we’re always looking out for number one? They can’t. And that’s why they don’t.
Yet there is good news! There is hope! Jesus Christ came to this world, where He lived suffered, and died, and not only does He offer us forgiveness for all our sins; He offers us a chance to start over, to have a new life, and to be healed from the things that have caused these bad relationships.
Jesus once said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). What could give us a more abundant life than to have better relationships with the ones we love?
Yes, the good news of the Bible is that God cares about our relationships because God cares about us. If we will let Him, He will work in our life and change our heart. Millions can testify to the reality of what Christ in the heart can do. Jesus can turn us away from the selfishness, the self-centeredness, and the desire for supremacy that so often mars our relationships. When we focus on Christ and realize that He, the Creator, humbled Himself by becoming human, and then died the sinner’s death, all for us, we get a true glimpse of what it means to live for the good of others and not just for ourselves.
You can’t make these changes on your own. Only by inviting Jesus into your heart, only by inviting Him into your life and claiming Him as your Savior, can these changes begin. But then they will begin, and you’ll never be the same again.
No one is saying that accepting Jesus will cause all your problems vanish and that suddenly you’ll get along great with everyone all the time. Of course not! Once you accept Jesus, though, and surrender your life to Him in faith, claiming the forgiveness He offers, repenting of your past mistakes, God will begin a process that will change you. The Bible promises, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
And what is this good work that God will do in you? You will learn to forgive better, because you have been forgiven. You will learn to accept others better, despite their faults, because God accepts you despite your faults. You will learn to think not only of yourself but of others, because Jesus thought not only of Himself but of others. And you will learn to love others because Christ loves you.
Just think what these changes will do for your relationships with others!
No doubt some of the relational problems you suffer from aren’t your fault, but some probably are. Either way, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that if you surrender your will to Christ and die to self and live for Him, you’ll not only be different—you’ll deal differently with others.
Think about it: by being more forgiving, more accepting, more giving, and more loving, will your relationships get better or worse? Of course, they can get only better!
What Farrokh Bulsara needed wasn’t more money or fame. He didn’t need more friends or lovers. What Freddie needed is what we all need—Jesus Christ.
Why not, at this moment, invite Christ into your life and begin a whole new set of relationships, not only with God but with those around you?
Clifford Goldstein writes from Maryland.
Sources of Additional Help:
Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1905).
Lewis Smedes, The Art of Forgiveness (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996).