Be Careful Little Ears What You Hear: Music and How It Can Be a Sinful Influence on Christians
I have always been a big fan of music. Ever since I was big enough to notice my surroundings, I can remember listening to the radio going at our house almost all day. I was a “child of the ‘80s and ‘90s,” so I was exposed to both popular rock and country songs of that era. Most of these songs are played so many times, that, it is easy for one to not listen to the lyrics. The same is true for current songs as well. Our main focus when listening to music may be placed on how a song sounds, instead of what it says. I try to make it a habit of listening to the lyrics of music I come into contact with from both the past and present. I have to say, however, that most of the music out there today (and some in the past) are not fit for listening. Sure, many songs have a good “beat” or “rhythm” but is the message they convey befitting for a Christian to hear?
I am not going to focus on one particular genre of music because, to be honest, almost all forms of popular music out there today have at least one or two songs with questionable content in them. When I refer to “popular” music, I mean any music that a person enjoys listening to today, which usually falls in the category of rock, country or rap. By saying this, I am not excluding any other form of music. Any song from any genre of music that has inappropriate or questionable lyrics in it should be avoided.
What do I mean when I say this? Any song that has a curse word or inappropriate subject matter should make a Christian think twice before listening to it just as a foul-talking, sexually charged, or drug/alcohol themed movie would. I am sure that most Christians would not let their children watch a film or T.V. show with curse words, sexual content, and/or drugs and alcohol in it so that their children will not have to be exposed to such sinful acts. This principle can also be applied to music as well, because, listening to a “catchy” song that has a sinful message can be just as influential in a negative way as a film, T.V. show, or literature that sends the same message. The devil will try to plant seeds of sin in the minds of Christians any way he can, and a song with a “good beat” is an easy way of getting sinful thoughts “stuck” in Christians’ heads. He does this in hopes that the song’s message will influence them to commit sinful acts. 1 Corinthians 15:33 states; “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”
All of the types of sin that is in the world can be described in 1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world , the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” Christians are to be in the world but not of the world, meaning that even though we cannot totally avoid those that openly do wrong in this life, we still must live our lives differently from their lives, because we are to follow God’s Law instead of man. Part of this includes guarding our influence and the influence of our families against any form of sin, which either includes the actual sinful act or things that talk about or portray these acts. I have seen much emphasis on social media placed on not watching or reading entertainment that has cursing or sexual content in them. A good example of this is the film/book I wrote about several months ago called, Fifty Shades of Grey, which is known for explicit sexual content. Many Christians on social media spoke against the film and book, and I’m glad they did so. What I do not see much of, however, is Christians speaking against the cursing, sexual content, and drug/alcohol content that can be heard every day in music on the radio. I am also including songs that have veiled references to sinful behaviors. I suppose that many people choose to ignore the sin hidden in the lyrics to focus on the song’s sound and how it makes them “feel.”
I have seen some examples of how Christians and non-Christians let themselves be blinded by sin through music at the Main Street Live concerts that are held in downtown McMinnville every summer. My family and I enjoy going to these events, but anytime the band performs a song that has a curse word or suggestive lyrics in it, we pack up and leave immediately. We do not want to be influenced by the song’s sinful message, and we also want to set a positive example to both Christians and non-Christians. I am sure that many of the people who stayed behind would not use that kind of language and would disagree with its use. Just because it sounds good to the ear doesn’t make it right in the sight of God. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”(Matthew 5:16).
By reading this article, I do not want to lead the reader to believe that all music is sinful. There are many songs out there that are good to listen to and convey positive messages. The point of this post is to help Christians become more selective of all of their entertainment choices, including the music of which they listen. In whatever we do as Christians, either for work or entertainment, if it doesn’t fit the standards set by Paul in Philippians 4:8, then it should be avoided. “Finally, brethren, 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.”
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