Sing a new song to the LORD! Let the whole earth sing to the LORD!
Psalm 96:1 (NLT)
Back in the day (no years, please) I listened to a popular singer who had a catchy tune promoting some pretty bad behavior. Now, listening to this song didn’t want me to engage in this behavior, but it was a fun tune and there seemed no harm in singing it. And why not? All the kids were singing it too.
Anyway, I went to this singer’s concert, which was packed. Inevitably, he announced that he was singing this song. The crowd went wild—as I said, it was a very popular tune. But it’s what he did before he sang the song that I remember.
He said, “This song is about destructive behavior, and some of my friends have died doing it. I can’t sing this song the way it is. I’m changing the lyrics.”
So, in front of a sold-out crowd, this singer changed the lyrics to reflect the true cost of this behavior. It was brutal. I recall feeling shame for my own part in blithely ignoring the despicable message in the original lyrics for the sake of singing a cool song. But most of all, I remember thinking how difficult it must have been to face a crowd of thousands and tell them something different from what they’d paid to hear.
In first century Judah, the lyrics of the prophesied Messiah were well known. He was going to come in earthly power with a mighty army, and eviscerate the Romans who had been so cruel to God’s people. But Jesus changed up the lyrics, bringing the power of the Holy Spirit and the mighty message of sinners redeemed. This new song led Him to Calvary, where this beaten, betrayed dying man whispered lyrics that would eventually eviscerate not only the Romans, but every stronghold of sin. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
So what about you? When you look in the mirror, what lyrics do you hear? Alcoholic? Abandoned? Jobless? Hopeless? Abused person? Person who has been an abuser? If you are hearing this condemnation, remember that Jesus changed those lyrics. He forgave you—YOU—for all eternity. Christ excluded no one.
Maybe, like the brave popular singer, you are facing a huge crowd expecting and wanting you to enable their bad behavior. Maybe you are facing the criticizing words of your single sinful self. Whether it’s an audience of one or one million, it takes courage to change the lyrics. But you are not alone, and you are not forsaken. What you are is loved.
God’s got this. With His help and grace, you have everything you need to change your lyrics. You don’t have to sing a song of despair, death and discouragement. You are loved. You are forgiven. You are not alone. And if you need help with the backup band, call or stop by the Glennon House. It’s never too late to start singing to the LORD!