We Can’t Handle The Truth

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Lately, I have been enjoying the new version of the for King and Country song “O God Forgive Us” that includes a rap bridge by hip hop artist KB. The single varies from the original album version that simply has Joel and Luke sing the verses and chorus followed by a monologue expounding on the title of their album: Run Wild, Live Free, Love Strong. The addition of this bridge adds some meat to the theme of the song. As someone who is very involved in the issue of homelessness in our city, it has extra appeal for me as well. The full lyric reads as follows:

Forgive us
Yes we have ignored you
So busy doing your work
That we forgot that this was
For
You

Arms wide to our homeless Savior
But arms crossed to our homeless neighbor
On bended knee
Unite us all
Set us free

We have at least five Christian radio stations in Indianapolis. A few weeks ago I was driving my wife’s car as we listened to the local affiliate of the regional network she prefers (my van is set to another station). The song I had grown to love came on and we began to talk about it a little. When we got to the bridge, I was surprised to hear a shortened version on this station that went like this:

Forgive us
On bended knee
Unite us all
Set us free

It was like the heart of what was being said in that lyric had been removed to leave only a feather-light shell. It removed the honest confession of sins of commission and omission around the issues of ego-centric kingdom building and our treatment of “the least of these” and left us with a vague, milquetoast reference to unity without any thought of what we need to unify around.

I gave the station the benefit of the dought that this may have been some type of technical glitch, as unlikely as that sounds. I enquired about this change to the song by sending a message to the station’s Facebook page to see if this was the case. Even though the notifications showed that my message had been read, no response was sent. A few days later I received my answer when I was listening to another affiliate of the same network while driving through the Chicago area. They played the same song and the same deletion occurred. It was obvious this was an intentional edit.

This only leaves me wondering why the station managers feel it’s necessary to make this edit. Usually, edits like this indicate that they believe their audience will be offended by what is being said by the artist and prefer to ignore things that the community of Christ need to discuss. They give the audience what they want to hear and not what they need to hear.

Sadly, though, there are many in our contemporary Christian culture who like things that way. We prefer to live with easily digestible platitudes than to have our lives challenged by honest assessments that may lead us to repentance. To paraphrase James, we are like those who glance in a mirror on the way out the door only to forget what we look like the moment we look away. We forget that the promise to heal our land is conditional on the repentance of those who define themselves as God’s people. (see 2 Chronicles 7:14) We prefer to blame the people “out there” for the problems of society instead of looking into our own hearts to see what may still be lurking within that needs to be addressed. To quote another lyric from the song, “We want drive through peace and instant hope /
Shallow faith it has left us broke.”

If you haven’t heard the song or seen the powerful video that goes with it, check out the video below. Let it speak to you. Let it search you for the attitudes that may need repentance and give you the joy that is found in forgiveness.

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