Thursday, 3 December 2009

What is My Cry?

Last week one day, I hopped into my sister's car to make a quick trip to the store, as I needed a few things to make supper.  I could have walked, had it not been for the rain.  I turned on the engine and the radio came on with it.  What I heard were the final stanzas of a secular song that I hadn't heard in years.  And I must say they hit me hard.  Now, I stopped listening to secular music a long time ago, but I clearly remembered this song.  Just to make things clear, I still generally don't listen to secular music, nor do I encourage it.  However, that night, after trying to place the title of the song, I looked it up.  The song is "Where is the Love?" by the Black Eyed Peas.  When I listened to this song again, I found myself wondering, "Why isn't this the cry of the Church?  Christians could really learn a lot from this song!"  Pretty sad, isn't it?  (By the Church, I am referring to the body of believers around the world as a whole, but I guess my thoughts pertain more to the North American church.)

"Where is the Love?" is a song that really speaks about the injustice of the world we live in, and throughout this post, I'll be quoting various lyrics from the song.  The chorus of this song probably has the strongest Christian tone, although I don't think it was written from that viewpoint:

"People killing people dying
Children hurtin you hear them crying
Can you practice what you preach
Would you turn the other cheek?
Father Father Father help us
Send some guidance from above
Cause people got me got me questioning
Where is the love?"

I think here we already fail.  The world around is lost, dying, and crying out and yet it seems like we fail to hear.  How often doesn't our walk contradict our talk?  How often don't we rather want to get even than turn the other cheek?  The song also speaks of how we discriminate and the things it leads to.  There are many lines that divide Christians, although God never intended it that way, and we often tend to be critical of others, Christians and non-Christians alike.  I must confess that I fall very short on all of these matters, and it should not be so. 

Why isn't this the cry of the Church?

"So I can ask myself really what is going wrong
With this world that we living in
People keep on giving in
Makin wrong decisions
Only visions of them livin and
Not respecting each other
Deny thy brother
The wars' going on but the reasons' undercover
The truth is kept secret
Swept under the rug
If you never know truth
Then you never know love"

And all too often, we give into the pressure around us, fail to stand our ground and rather compromise our convictions, make decisions we know are wrong, have a vision that only includes ourselves, and we bear lies and do all we can to cover up the truth.  But until truth, God's Truth is brought out, applied and lived out, we'll never get anywhere.

Why isn't this the cry of the Church?

"Most of us only care about money makin
Selfishness got us followin the wrong direction
Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting their young minds faster than bacteria
Kids wanna act like what the see in the cinema
Whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness and equality
Instead of spreading love, we're spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading us away from unity"

Sadly, we often see in the lives of Christians a strong desire for the gain of material wealth.  There is nothing wrong with money, and if God has blessed you financially, praise Him for it.  But also use it in a God-honouring way.  The Bible speaks way too much about giving to justify hoarding everything you make.  Many of us live self-serving lives.  I myself having realized lately how self-serving my life has become, how I think I should have it this way, have that, be able to do that, having special privileges and exemptions.  But this is far from what the Christian life is all about.  It's a life of service and sacrifice.  That's what we have been called to.

Why isn't this the cry of the Church?

Media is a subject all of its own.  We are surrounded by it: magazines, billboards, radio, music, television, movies, internet and the list goes on.  We live in a world that screams sex; live for yourself; if it feels good, do it; if you've been wronged, get even; you deserve more than you have; you need more to make you happy and this list goes on.  This is an area that I have a strong opinion on, because I've learned from experience and still feel the effects all the time.  Growing up, I listened to all the secular music, watched all the TV shows and movies, and just soaked it all in.  When I became a Christian, entertainment was one of the hardest things for me to break free from.  I knew most of it was ungodly (evil, really) and that it had a very negative influence on my life.  I would erase many things from my memory if I could, and all the years of entertainment is one of them.  I still have lines and images coming back to me all the time, often at random times as I go about my day and I hate it.  So yes, I can definitely say, media is a big problem in our society, and it does ruin children.  I'm not against these various forms of media in themselves and I still watch movies and such sometimes, but I'm careful about my choices.

Why isn't this the cry of the Church?

What happened to the values of humanity?  How about what happened to the values of Christianity?  Our society is in rapid moral decline, but so is the Church.  As we see all the things that are wrong in this world, are we setting a different example?  Many are not.  But God's call for our lives is a set-apart, sanctified one that is distinctly different from the lives the world leads.  Many Christians and churches nowadays are doing things in order to attract unbelievers or be culturally relevant.  However, I don't believe this is biblical.  I read a book this year called Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different by Tullian Tchividjian, which I would definitely recommend.  I was surprised to learn that non-believers that are seeking are actually not attracted by Christians who take part in many of the same or similar things the world does, by rather repelled: "serious seekers today aren't looking for something appealing and trendy.  They're looking for something deeper than what's currently in fashion." (p.9)  In other words, if they want their life to change, they will want a complete turnaround, not just "Christianized" versions of what they already have.  Tullian also included a reader's response to a magazine article about modern churches trying to reach people by “fitting in”, and a portion reads as follows:

"I can't stand the phoniness, or trendiness, or sameness--or whatever I'm trying to say here--that the church seems to catch onto at the tail, not even aware of how lame it is....It makes me want to throw up.  It's buying into some kind of lie or substitution of cool culture as being relevant when it isn't." (p.16)

There's more to that where she describes the kind of Christians she can't stand, but I think we can say the world has spoken.  The world wants change too, but we often fail to deliver. And we definitely aren't always the best examples of love and unity.

I never would have thought I could learn so much from a secular song. I never would have thought that it would bring out so many problems in the modern church or areas of my life that needed to change. But the more I think and talk about this, the more I see how wrong I really am. I've asked the question “Why isn't this the cry of the Church?” But what it really comes down to is “Why isn't this my cry, or rather, what is my cry?” The more I look at the Word of God and learn about what it means to follow Jesus, the more I see how very far away I am. I can only point to myself. Nor is what I have thought about and said here enough. No head knowledge is worth anything until it is put into practice and lived out. My earnest prayer and desire is that I would not just think and talk about things, but actually do something; not look at anyone else, but to myself and how far I fall short, because before I can do that, I will not see change. May this be the earnest desire and prayer of each and every one of us. Blessings to you!

And my sincere apologies for making this so long, although I could have said much more.


  1. Wow.

    Never heard that song, but it's stirring.

    Where is the love?

    That's what the church is supposed to have been showing to the world for the past 2000+ years. We haven't, apparently.

    Repentance first, then a move to do something about it!!
    Thank you for sharing.

  2. Deep thoughts there. I never heard that song before. But it definitely says a lot. So true. Too many of us are settling for mediocrity. For something less of what we should have, and/or could have. We've lost sight of the height of glory that we could experience if we put ourselves completely out for God.

    Where is the love?

    Thanks for sharing. Don't worry about it being long. :)

  3. Margaret!

    Thank you so much for posting this! I love your perspective (probably because it's similar to mine ;) hehe). Thanks for sharing though! It's important that we speak up about these things. I've heard that song a million times and wondered the same thing! Where is the love in our church? Let's have it start with you and me. :)<3