What’s the difference between idolizing someone vs looking up to them?
This is a great question. We talk a lot about the important of mentors and the need for people to build into you, but it is possible for that to go to an unhealthy extreme.
An idol is something that we put above, or on the same level of God. The first commandment says “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Idolatry could be worshiping something other than God, such as the golden calf the Israelites bowed down to in Exodus 34, but it can also be something like money or success that draws our focus away from God.
You run the risk of idolizing someone when you treat their word as though it was God’s. No matter how great or respected a pastor, or author, or parent, or whatever is, you need to check what they say against scripture and with your own critical thinking faculties. Just accepting what someone says as the way it is because that person said it, could be problematic.
That is not to say that you have to disagree with someone in order to not idolize them. I have mentors in my life, and authors I love, and I agree with pretty much everything they say. But that agreement is not blind.
What God says is right because He is God, but only God is self-justifying. Everyone else’s words have to be judged against the scriptures and your own discernment.
-Matt from The Bridge