Most people enjoy listening to music, and there is a lot out there to choose from! Countless articles and books have been written about the Christian viewpoints on music, particularly the more modern genres. These make many points – about the music style, the way it can influence your feelings and whether or not music should always be a thing of beauty (as a product of the creative power which God has given us) – to mention just a few. Although these arguments are valid and helpful, I do not intend to repeat them in detail here. Instead, I would like to encourage you to think about one specific aspect of any songs you might be listening to – the lyrics.
When you listen to a song, have you ever thought properly about the words? Can you even hear what is being sung? If not, do you know what the lyrics are? Have you thought about what messages, attitudes or behaviours the lyrics are promoting? Are they messages you feel comfortable with? Are they aligned with Biblical teaching? If you listen to a song and either don’t know, or cannot hear, the words, then you don’t really know what it is you are listening to. Maybe you are listening with friends who will assume that you support the themes in the song, even though they might actually be immoral, violent or obscene.
Try an experiment. Take two or three of your favourite songs, listen to them carefully and write out all the lyrics. It might surprise (or even shock) you what you find.
Perhaps you feel pressure to listen to the same music as your peers, but remember the Bible teaches us to ‘abstain from all appearance of evil’ (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Are you obeying this command if you listen to a song which promotes an unbiblical attitude or behaviour? Regardless of what you might think about different styles of music, when you’re listening to a song, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do the words say?
- Do I agree with their message?
- Would I be happy to read the lyrics to my parents?
- Would I ‘like’ the lyrics if they were posted on social media?
Remember that God sees all that you do, he knows the songs you listen to and what you think about the messages that they promote. In his word God has said, ‘whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.’ (Philippians 4:8) Does your music collection fit in with these descriptions? The songs we hear stick in our minds. Is the music you choose to listen to a source of good or bad food for your thoughts?[A00042 – 13/07/2017]