Ask Charlie - Cheer up church. You're worse off than you think.
- Sunday, April 02, 2000
Charlie Peacock IS HERE with YOU in Musician Resources on the Music Channel at crosswalk.com to answer YOUR questions. Think of it as your chance to have Charlie as your mentor - your virtual mentor here on crosswalk.com.
Charlie won't be able to answer every question, but he'll pick one or more to address as part of his new regular column, ASK CHARLIE here in Musician Resources. To send Charlie a question for consideration, just email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi Mr. Peacock! Thanks for taking the time to read this e-mail. I was just wondering what you mean when you say, "Cheer up church. You're worse off than you think." My mom and I were talking about it and couldn't figure out why you would say something like that because it's so discouraging. Plus, how can you tell some to cheer up because they are more worse off than they think. It just doesn't make sense. Well, I hope that you can answer my question.
P.S. I really enjoy your music and think that you are a great artist!
I'm so glad that my little song caused you and your mom to stop, think, and discuss. The words "cheer" and "worse" just don't seem to belong in the same sentence do they?! I can't take credit for this provocative saying though. A man named Jack Miller came up with it, and it is Jack that the song is about. Had I written a song centered solely around the "cheer/worse" idea I would have made it a little easier to grasp. Since the song was originally played for an audience of people who knew the saying, they of course knew the meaning. That gives you an introduction to how the song came to exist and why it might be a bit obtuse. Still, I think you deserve some further explanation so here goes.
What's at stake in this saying is our notion of sin and grace. The more we understand just how bad the bad news is (sin), the more we are able to respond in gratitude to just how good the good news is (grace). It is possible for even the most committed Christian to have a very limited view of their own sin. He or she might consider themselves a sinner since from time to time they sin--they do something that they know is wrong and they ask God's forgiveness. The Bible does not view sin in this way though. Instead, it speaks to a kind of total sin that has infected us like a cancer or a sickness. We are pervasively sinful. It's through and through. You're right; if you were left at this place it would be discouraging. Thankfully, Jesus came with the total cure for total sin and a great reversal is taking place in creation and in the hearts of people like you and me. This is really good news. Jesus died for all my sin, not just the sins I'm aware of or the ones I confess.
The truth is Melissa, I am worse off than I think or know. It is amazing that God knows the extent of my rebellion against Him (even if I really don't) and He still loves me and pursues me and is committed to making me like his Son Jesus. When I take this to heart a smile appears on my face. I cheer up.
The more God reveals to me just how much I need Him, the more grateful I am and the more I live in response to the good news of the gospel. I become a cheerful giver, giving myself away for the cause of Christ. Each day I grow more encouraged. For example, I remember that God loved me first while I was yet a sinner--in my worst shape and rebellion. I remember that his grace is total, that there is nothing I can do to make him love me more and nothing I can do to make him love me less. He loves perfectly. This cheers me up some more. There is no more condemnation for those in Christ, whether I'm conscious of the depth of my sin or not. As a child of God I am set free into a glorious freedom. Again, incredibly good news. "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:37-39)."
Here's some scriptures to consider:
Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." So they called to the blind man, "Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." Mark 10:49
And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. Matt. 9:2
I hope you and your mother found this to be helpful. Thank you for your encouragement.
For more Ask Charlie features, view the Musician Resources Interviews archive at http://music.crosswalk.com/mr/interviews.
Charlie Peacock, seminary student and author of "At the Crossroads: An Insider's Look At the Past, Present, and Future of CCM" is currently working on a new CD of piano improvisations.
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