I have never heard more hatred spoken toward being human than I have heard in the lyrics of Christian music. The negativity is overpowering.
I have noticed this, too, but never mentioned it to anyone, thinking the real problem was me for “not getting it” or being too prideful. But the more I think about it, is it really necessary for the Christian to dwell on how depraved she is in order to praise how good God is? Isn’t God good just for the sake of being…God?
The worship songs are catchy, heart-stirring, and emotional, with lines that many people hear outside of church, Christian or otherwise:
“I’m nothing without you.”
“I’m not good enough for you.”
“How could you ever love someone like me?”
Aside from not being moved by crowds of people waving their arms and singing off-key in general, this is the next biggest reason why worship music doesn’t connect me with God: I have a problem when lyrics describing how God feels about me sound very similar to how my abusive ex boyfriend felt about me. If those lines above came from another human being, how many of us would feel an instinct to tell the person hearing them that she needs to leave?
Doesn’t it seem problematic that a person who hears this stuff from God won’t recognize it as a red flag if the same words come from a dating partner?
Whatever happened to the humble simplicity of lines like, “I once was lost, but now I’m found”?
The balance of a healthy self-esteem with a healthy awareness of my shortcomings has been a delicate one. There is a kind of Christianity that attracts abusers because it allows them easy access to forgiveness under the guise of grace (albeit cheap grace). At the same time, this kind of Christianity draws in victims of abuse because it reiterates the messages they are told every day, directly or indirectly: that they are nothing; that they are horrid and despicable; that no one could ever love them as they are. It is no surprise that this kind of Christianity enables victims to stay instead of building them up and encouraging them to pursue true freedom.
At the same time, there are other narratives of Christianity that have empowered victims of domestic violence, whom I’ve had the privilege of knowing. There’s a kind of Christianity out there that gently places a balm over old wounds by telling the survivor that she is loved the way she is; that she is worthy and has dignity. I can’t say which narrative is the “correct” one, but I’m inclined to believe it’s the one that endorses inherent worth and purpose, because no one I’ve ever heard of accomplished amazing things while still believing she is a wretch.