I confess that I have made fun of some country tunes. Here are some actual song titles with bonus commentary in italics.
- Her Teeth Were Stained, But Her Heart Was Pure - There is one you probably won't find at Hallmark.
- I Flushed You From The Toilets Of My Heart - Bonus track…I took the plunge, then took the plunger
- I Wanna Whip Your Cow - No comment
- I'm So Miserable Without You, It's Like Having You Here - Perhaps a tad too honest.
- I Would Have Wrote You A Letter, But I Couldn't Spell Yuck! - But you just spelled yuck in the…never mind.
- If My Nose Were Full of Nickels, I'd Blow It All On You - Ewwwww.
- You're The Reason Our Kids Are So Ugly - When you want this Mother's Day card to be the last one.
I will have to admit that I am becoming a bigger country music fan. None of the songs above are on my iPod song list but a number of country artists are on the list. There is a reason I am downloading (legally) more and more country music. One reason is that I can learn from country songs. Country lyrics are real. They are honest. Country artists are not afraid to be authentic and they are not ashamed to sing about weakness and pain and sin. They don't care about being politically correct and they are not reluctant to explore the difficult questions about God and life. Perhaps it is the occasional raw edginess of the country music world that appeals the most to me.
For example, check out the video for a song by country group Montgomery Gentry. The song is called "Some People Change" and the images are not safe and politically correct. The video is set at an old fashioned tent revival in the middle of a cornfield. Montgomery Gentry sing about a young man brought up in racism who is changed by faith in Jesus.
His old man was a rebel yeller:
Bad boy to the bone.
He'd say: "Can't trust that other fella,"
He'd judge ‘em by the tone of their skin.
He was raised to think like his Dad:
Narrow mind full of hate.
On the road to no-where fast,
Till the Grace of God got in the way.
Then he saw the Light an' hit his knees an' cried an' said a prayer:
Rose up a brand new man; left the old one right there.
What a powerful lyric. Till the grace of God got in the way. That is what happened to me. I was living a life far apart from God and headed nowhere fast when the grace of God got in the way. And thank God for that interruption in my directionless path. The next stanza talks about a mom raised in an alcoholic family who finds the strength to throw the bottle down. In the midst of each difficult stretch Joni and I traverse I see the grace of God getting in the way over and over. And I see it all around me. I recently sat with a dear friend that quit drinking after coming into a relationship with Jesus. A marriage restored. A young man that left drugs to go to seminary and now into fulltime Christian ministry to help others battle those same demons. A work friend whose life has turned around by faith and surrender to God. Some people change when the grace of God gets in the way.
The chorus goes like this…
Here's to the strong; thanks to the brave.
Don't give up hope: some people change.
Against all odds, against the grain,
Love finds a way: some people change.
Thank God for those who make it:
Let them be the Light.
I saw my Mom change in a way that I can only call a miracle. Some people change. I have to ask myself a hard question. Do I give them the grace to allow that change and in particular do I allow for God to work in His timing and not mine? God accepted me when I was unacceptable. Lord, help me to have the grace to accept others even when they seem unacceptable. We have a hard time with that, don't we? We keep score and are quick to point out failure to justify our lack of acceptance. Paul addressed such behavior to the Ephesians.
But that isn't what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And "don't sin by letting anger control you."Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil….
And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4, NLT)
And yes, I know that I may get burned by that approach. But if I am to err I pray that I will err on the side of grace.
Don't give up hope. Some people change.