Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Theological Lessons from Metallica

I have a confession first.  I like Metallica, I have for a long time.  I think they are excellent musicians and lyricists.  I am unsure of their belief or faith, but I have found some things in Metallica's music over the years that have great theological messages.  There is one that really struck me, and when I saw the video it hit me ever harder.

Until It Sleeps

This song is about sin, and it's pretty obvious it's about the darkness that lives inside the human heart and our desire to be free.  One of the things that I have seen is the church suffers from small syndrome.  We have small sin that needs small forgiveness.  We simply do some bad things sometimes, and we just need to say we are sorry.  This isn't the biblical picture of sin, Metallica gets it.  They are violent about getting free from sin.  Tear me open, pour me out.  Wash me till clean, tear me open, make you gone.  They understands the wretchedness and the evil that lives inside man.  Jesus knew it too, and He used violent language.  If you eye causes you to sin, tear it out and cast it from you.  Don't gently remove it, rip it out and throw it away from you.  Cut off your limbs if they cause you sin, cast them away.  The violent nature of is seen on the cross.  Jesus didn't simply die, he was beaten, scourged, battered, disfigured, nailed to a cross, tortured and finally stabbed.  Sin is violent, the price is violent and severe.

Paul understood the nature of sin and how evil it is.  The things I want I don't do and the evil things I don't want to do, I keep on doing. Wretched man that I am.  The Bible is full of the language about sin that it kills us, brings death and destruction and it taints our lives.  We don't seem to have that sort of reaction to sin, we simply tell people "if you choose Jesus, you will be fine".  How can we choose Jesus when we are so tainted we can't choose to follow God's law?  Our sin keeps us from making a choice to choose Jesus, we don't find Jesus, we don't even trust Jesus without the work He did for us.  It was raw and violent and bloody and we have turned it into an academic exercise.

My prayer is becoming more like Metallica's song.  I need God to tear me open and pour me out, the hate and the pain and the dirt ruin me.  I can't do anything good, I can't seek after God, I can't even take care of myself.  I don't want to be held in sin's grip, I want to be free.  I want God to be violent with me, to tear my heart out and clean it.  Anything less simply will not conquer the power of sin.

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