- - Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Glitz, glam, fame and fans are intricately melded into Hollywood success, with too many entertainers compromising themselves, abandoning their values and subjugating their humanity to yield cash, accolades and notoriety.

After more than two decades interviewing actors, singers, authors and other notable figures, I’d be a multimillionaire if I had a dollar for every time a celebrity admitted feeling lost, confused and jaded after failed quests to achieve these things left them unfulfilled.

Amid the flurry of the entertainment industry’s immorality and lostness, though, one famous family stands out for its authenticity, grit, countercultural prowess and love for God: the Robertsons.

The “Duck Dynasty” stars burst on the American TV scene in 2012, catapulting duck calls, family prayers and fun-filled antics into the mainstream. Their show broke ratings records, inspired laughs and left people wanting to know more about the quirky and fun real-life characters running a duck call business in Monroe, Louisiana.

Beyond the hype, giggles and TV magic was a slew of love, kindness and reliance on biblical truth, with the Robertsons offering powerful and timeless life lessons. Let’s explore four ways this famous family can teach us all to live better:

First, some things in life are more important than fame and fortune. Fans might remember when “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson was suspended in 2013, at the height of the show’s success. He landed in hot water for comments he made in a GQ interview about homosexuality and other subjects.

Mr. Robertson was quickly suspended, with “Duck Dynasty” parent network A&E issuing a statement expressing disappointment over his remarks. At that point, Mr. Robertson‘s family had a decision to make: Proceed with the show without him or stand by him and potentially give up the fame and fortune coming their way.

The Robertsons wasted no time choosing the latter, releasing a statement acknowledging that while some of Mr. Robertson‘s comments were perhaps “coarse,” the clan planned to stick together. They essentially said they wouldn’t move forward without him.

Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Phil would never incite or encourage hate,” the family said. “We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right. We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm.”

This must have been quite a head-turner for TV executives who likely don’t see many people willing to step back from such success. Mr. Robertson was immediately reinstated after fans simultaneously demanded his return. But the family’s bold reaction and willingness to put love for one another over earthly offerings provides a powerful reminder about what really matters.

That brings us to the second lesson the Robertsons can teach us: Forgiveness breeds freedom. While the family was initially best known for comedic gags, Mr. Robertson and his wife, Miss Kay, have been outspoken about the tumultuous early years of their marriage.

Early on, Mr. Robertson was an alcoholic and adulterer who kicked out his wife and kids and nearly lost it all. But after embracing the Christian faith, he found redemption, rebuilt his marriage, and went on to become one of the most famous stars in cable TV history.

It’s a story of faith and absolution. First, there’s Miss Kay’s willingness to forgive her husband. Then there’s the clear redemption that can be found when a person turns his or her life over to God — and finds freedom.

Rather than concealing the dark corners of the family’s past, the Robertsons have been more than open about what unfolded, even chronicling the gritty story in the film “The Blind,” which has been changing lives since its 2023 release.

“I’m embarrassed by my past on one side, but on the other, I’m unashamed because my rotten sins have been bought and paid for by blood,” Mr. Robertson told me last year. “If ‘The Blind’ brings one person to know the power of the blood of Jesus, it was worth it.’”

Miss Kay expressed a similar sentiment, telling me the reaction to the movie — including mass baptisms among people facing addiction and poverty — was “amazing.”

“I knew that if people could hear it, see it, learn the story, that we could help people, and so far you wouldn’t believe how many responses we’ve had about marriages that were broken, they’re going back together, they’re trying to make it work,” she said. “We’ve heard over, and over, and over good things that have come from it — people that have come to Jesus that never would [had they not] seen that movie.”

This drives home our third and fourth lessons: Vulnerability and selflessness are important. The Robertsons have spent the past decade using their fame to point people to something bigger and more profound.

They have altruistically offered a lens into their mistakes to point people toward God, with Mr. Robertson, sons Willie, Alan, Jase and Jep, and their wives spending a great deal of their time baptizing fans and traveling the U.S. to share biblical truth with the masses.

Mr. Robertson‘s daughter-in-law Korie Robertson recently told CBN News she hopes people see the family’s testimony and start to ask important questions: “Why is [your life] different? Why do you seem to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness?”

The answer, she says, is that the Robertsons “have the [Holy] Spirit living in us.”

“It’s not because we’re so great,” Ms. Robertson said. “It’s because we have the spirit of God living in us and we try to live our lives that way.”

In an era in which Hollywood often elevates immorality and money above all else, the Robertsons offer a refreshing reminder to put faith, family and others above all else. And in a culture obsessed with the political, the self and the temporal, this blueprint holds the power to transform our collective hearts and minds.

Billy Hallowell is a digital TV host and interviewer for Faithwire and CBN News and the co-host of CBN’s “Quick Start Podcast.” He is the author of four books.

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