"You Do You" Another Disingenuous Cultural Craze
Updated: Oct 4, 2018
"You do you" has come to mean a few things in present-day American and European culture, but for all intents and purposes I'm compelled to take this phrase at face value. Here's my assessment in short: it's the antithesis of the Gospel. Here are two verses to prove it (there are many, many others, by the way).
"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” MARK 10:45
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."PHILIPPIANS 2:5-9
This phrase implies that you are first, you and your interests are the center of the universe, and you should be concerned primarily about your welfare, above anyone or anything else. This, of course, is extremely un-Christ-like. "You do you" is just the tip of the iceberg, too. Pop culture is littered with all sorts of cheap sayings, idioms, hashtags, and phrases. These are almost all compatible with the world, or worldliness.
These types of phrases and beliefs are very common in the world and they come on subtly; sometimes they even seem right or have a rosy appearance. Maybe these phenomena are more pronounced to me because I'm a "words guy" but this one is so obvious to me that I have to blow the trumpet. If we were to come up with Jesus' vision statement (this would be easy because He provides it - John 10:10 - Luke 4:18) we would see words like life, free/freedom, recovery, & good news. His mission statement, then, might just encapsulate this idea of service, humility, or spending Himself for the sake of others. This, of course, is nowhere near the purpose or meaning of the "you do you" message. I'm certain that many of the folks that use this phrase don't even have Jesus on their radar, but for those of you that do: please stop! Popular culture is not the way, the truth, or the life, Jesus Himself is. Try to see it that way.
In my view, one of the larger problems that has tested the American church in recent years has been the invasion of cultural principles against the timeless truth of the Word of God. These two things just aren't congruent. There's a slyness to how culture tries to incorporate itself into this Truth, with the ultimate goal of replacing it totally after your heart has given up enough ground to it.
A Few More Examples
Social Media - Mood & Feeling Marketing
The Deception: Your feelings and moods are paramount and being tossed to and fro by the waves and blown about by the wind (Ephesians 4:14) is hip, trendy, or even desired.
The Truth: We're called to have the mind of Christ, (1 Cor. 2:16) which assuredly is NOT moody or temperamental, and to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances (1st Thessalonians 5:16). It's really hard for me to believe that one is giving thanks in all circumstances when they're posting anger emojis after being cut off in traffic.
High Mileage Idioms - Idioms like 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' or 'you've made your bed, now lie in it' have snuck into mainstream phraseology, but they usually lack meaning and aren't true. With these and other sayings it really is as simple as asking the question: what does the Bible say about a,b, or c. If it's not what your hearing with the idiom, it's not true.
Hashtag Frenzy - I understand that hashtags actually do have a function (I use them to categorize posts), but from the standpoint of their use in popular culture, they and other social media trends are #1 a really lazy form of communication, and #2 a way to avoid connecting with people, or getting to the heart of the matter. It's also something that one can hide behind without having any real responsibility toward it. And it's also not necessarily "brave" or "courageous" to tack a hashtag onto the end of your Facebook or Instagram post. Rather, it's a way to draw attention to yourself without saying a whole lot.
It's a Fight for Truth
All of this that I've detailed sheds light on the fact that we're ultimately in a fight for truth. Pop culture isn't in the business of truth, it's in the business of popularity, and culture isn't concerned with the truth either, and that's obvious. Our view of truth must be singular, fixed, and unshaken in order to avoid the snares and tricks of the world - our view of truth must be the person of Jesus.
-JF D'Orsie - Communications Director - PCC