Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Conversation Starter

“Can I talk to you when you have a few minutes?”
This has become a somewhat familiar greeting in my life over the past few years.

“Sure, I’ve got time now. What’s up?” I replied.

“Well, we can’t talk now because I want to talk to you about this with a bunch of other people.” he stated.

And that is how our conversation started. I went on to learn that this young man wanted to “talk” with me and a bunch of other people about a certain topic that he was pretty excited about. Having had many conversations with this guy in the past, I knew I needed to press the issue a bit further and find out what specifically he was wanting to say to me and others.

Evidently, this guy spends a lot of time on the internet interacting with people through various mediums. Through one of those interactions, he pointed a person to a song video that he really liked. The person responded with a link to a video they liked. He wanted to play this song he was pointed to for a group of people to “start a conversation”. I pressed the issue further, asking him what the conversation he was hoping to start might revolve around.

He then proceeded to tell me that the song he wanted to play for the group was a heavy metal song filled with men screaming something about God being dead. He said he had been listening to the song and the more he listened to it the more encouraged he was. He wanted to share that encouragement with others.

To say that I was puzzled is an understatement. This conversation was nowhere near familiar anymore.

“You want to play a song about God being dead for other people, as a source of encouragement?” I asked.

He then went into his reasoning behind why he thought this was a good thing. After listening to a couple of minutes of him trying to explain how such an endeavor could be remotely beneficial, I finally was able to express my thoughts on the matter.

I explained that I would not be sitting down with him or any group of people to listen to the song he had for several reasons. The first concern I had was the content of the song. If the general theme is that God is dead, then I can only imagine what any of the supporting lyrics might be. I cannot think of a reason why I would want to sit down with a group of students to listen to a song that proclaims the direct opposite of what I believe. He began to interject his thought that perhaps these guys weren’t saying they didn’t believe in God but that somehow they were using the song as a challenge to Christians to be more like Christ.

The second reason was tied to the first. I quoted Philippians 4:8 as my basis for not wanting to hear the song and for not wanting him to play it for others. His claim that perhaps these guys weren’t necessarily spreading a bad message through the song was almost more than I could take. After praying that God would grant me more grace and mercy than I would, in my flesh, immediately respond with, I told him that I believe that the musicians performing that song were spreading the lies of Satan.

He began to challenge me again with his naïve “this is a call to action for Christians” speech, but I wasn’t going to allow him to continue in his errant thinking. I informed him that the Bible is very clear in that “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34-37 and Luke 6:45) and that by the mere words that he had told me were in the song, I felt confident in my assessment of their message. I then spent a few minutes explaining to this young man why I felt that he should no longer listen to the song in question. I once again encouraged him to not dwell on things that are blatantly against God (Philippians 4:8 again).

At the end of the conversation, he seemed to understand where I was coming from and what I was trying to convey. I walked away from this interaction somewhat befuddled and exasperated. It was hard for me to understand how someone could hear such an outright hate-filled message against God and somehow think and honestly believe that sharing it with others would be a source of encouragement to others.

I’m prayerful that my words of correction and instruction spoken in love were received and heeded (2 Timothy 3:16), but I cannot control the response to what I said. I can only control my words and actions in the situations that present themselves to me. I’m thankful that God reminded me of specific Scriptures to help teach through this somewhat odd conversation.

I pray that God would continue to work in me and help me to capitalize on such opportunities in every area of my life.

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