80’s Rock Ballads and Faith
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:26
My wife and I were both born in the 70s but when it comes to music, we’re children of the 80s. So, lately, we’ve been listening to an 80s rock ballad station. It’s been a trip down memory lane, and we’ve had a lot of laughs, but listening to the lyrics has been fascinating. Many, if not most, of the songs claim a love that will last forever – I will love you ‘til the end of time. That’s probably not an actual lyric, but it exemplifies a common theme.
In listening, we began wondering how many of those forever relationships have lasted. I’d bet the number is low – very low. Though we love those songs, it’s difficult not to develop some cynicism while examining the words. They’re just so immature and ridiculous. I will always love everything about you. Again, not actual lyrics, but you get the idea. These songwriters probably believed what they were saying, but it’s all just so outlandish. It’s not that I don’t believe in a love that lasts a lifetime. I just don’t believe that any of these lyrics represent that kind of love. It’s obvious in listening that these guys were fooling themselves with infatuation instead of authentic love.
This, I think, is similar to the situation described by James in today’s passage. In it, he warned us against fooling ourselves into thinking we were something when we were not. He said that if we claim to be religious, but our words reveal otherwise, those around us will be able to see through our facade.
When asked, I may say all the right things about my faith, but what do others hear from me on a daily basis? When I’m at work, or at the gym, what comes out of my mouth? If you polled those who casually knew me, what would they say my life is about? Would they know that I loved God and loved my neighbors? Or would they be surprised to find that I’m a Christian. He might claim that, but his actions and words reveal otherwise.
Hypocrisy isn’t usually an act of purposeful deceit. We believe in God and we intend to live as a Christian should. Our problem is that, like those 80s rock ballads, we fool ourselves. We claim that we’ll always follow Christ, but with our speech and actions, we reveal that we simply follow ourselves. How would others know us based on our daily words? Do they see Christ in us? Or do they simply see an absurd claim about following him forever?