By Edwin Crayton/Opinion
I recently read a news report that puts rap at the top of music genres in America. About that time, I read another news item from Barna Research that reported over 73% of Americans polled said they are Christians. How does a music form that relies heavily on profanity become, basically the leading style of music in a country where most people claim to be “Christians?” The numbers suggest that a whole lot of people who say they are Christians are buying a whole lot of it? Why does it matter? To God apparently it matters a good deal, if you believe your Bible. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:29: “Let no filthy communication proceed out of your mouth.”
When he physically walked the earth, Jesus warned those he ministered to that they should be careful about what they allowed to enter into their hearts and minds. Thoughts matter. In Matthew 5:28 Jesus is quoted as teaching that just thinking about having sex with someone you are not married to is a form of adultery. The prayer he taught his followers to pray even states at some point, “lead us not into temptation.” God knows we humans are imperfect, weak beings and that we can all be lured into hurtful, even dark behavior, often by the mere suggestion, presented to us in the most attractive manner at the most opportune moment. That has been the successful longtime strategy of the Devil. James 1:14-15 reads, “But each one is tempted when by his own evil desires, he is lured away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” In other words, be careful what thoughts you allow into your heart and mind—they bear fruit. Deadly, soul crippling, rotten fruit. I know from personal experience and many mistakes. Recently, I’ve been checking out rap/hip hop. Listen to the seductive lyrics in a few popular songs. Polo G rhymes, “Uh, I won’t love a (curse word), after we (curse word), she can’t get near me. Only (curse word) I give a conversation to is Siri.” Or what about D Savage’s “Locked In”: “Robbin’ niggas if I ever go broke. I want that money and power, let’s go (hey, hey) Walked in with a m____f____roll. Hop out with that m_____f_______.” You get the basic concept here. This is routine for the category. The template for a hit seems to be: 1) Use the N word frequently. 2)Disrespect women, write lyrics that portray them as sex objects. 3) swear, swear and then swear some more. 4)Talk about sex and violence a good deal. 5)Brag and boast.
On Sundays, many teens and young college age adults sing songs of praise to God. But Mondays through Saturdays is this what their playlist probably looks like? Sure, young people always listen to rebellious music and my generation was particularly guilty. But that doesn’t make it right does it? The amount of profanity has obviously gone up and keeps escalating. Some are tempted to defensively call the profanity in rap art and free speech. In some ways, they are right. But is that also a bit of a cop out? Truth is, music is also instruction. A child’s first lessons are often songs: “This is the way, we wash our face” was once a popular lyric. Look at the verse from James (1:14) again. Notice how it warns that desire gives birth to actions? For instance, if I think about a hot, gooey cinnamon roll, before long, I can taste it on my lips. Moments later I am at the store or pastry shop buying some. In a similar way, what this music tempts me to do, I just might do. The Bible says, “you can tell a tree by the fruit that it bears.” What fruit does profanity in rap music bear? As rap has become a top music genre, profanity has become more accepted in American society. TV shows have had titles such as “Cook your a – – off.” Characters in movies routinely spit out four letter words. Social media is populated by people who cuss almost every other word. Coincidence? Is all rap or hip hop filled with profanity? Not necessarily. But profanity is the norm.
What can you do if you are Christian and are concerned about your child? Well, it is not hopeless. If you are a Christian you have divine help: God. James 1:5 reads, “If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask God. But the catch is, we actually have to listen to what God says. He has already made it clear in his Holy Word that profanity and vileness do not have a place in the life of a Christian believer and that they eventually harm and perhaps will destroy the soul if left unchecked. Read daily what the Holy Bible says then do what it commands: (Suggestions: 1 Corinthians 6: 18, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Matthew 5:2 8, Luke 6:46), Afterwards, take the time to teach your child to do likewise. Turn off music and entertainment content laced with profanity. The “off” button is the most helpful invention in modern communications technology because when you really get right down to it, the best way to stop profanity and filth from invading and polluting your heart and mind is to stop it from getting past your ears in the first place.