Monday, May 10, 2010

Music for Thought: Part 3 of 4

Our reflective journey via musical case studies continues with a Johnny Cash classic.

Johnny Cash performs "Hurt" a cover of the song by Nine Inch Nails.

I'm afraid that the more I say about this song, the less meaningful my comments will become. Let me just point out the two most powerful moments in the music video.

I will Make you Hurt (2:35-2:40)

When June (Cash's wife) looks down at him from the stairs, it's a look that says a thousand words. When I see that expression on her face, it's like I can feel it too. It's like she lets out a big sigh that says, "It pains me so much to hear you say all this - but I love you. I love you too much to reach out and make you stop. I'm going to let you journey down this path of healing and redemption. And as you do, I'll be here for you. Waiting. Ready to love you, no matter what."

My Empire of Dirt (2:53-3:09)

If you didn't react in some way physically (sit up in your chair, grunt in surprise, raise your eyebrows, put your hand over your mouth, ANYTHING) when Cash started pouring out that wine - you better call an ambulance because you're a dead man walking. Notice the priceless stare down from Cash as his shaky hand pours out the contents of his glass. That wine spills all over the place and we can see the utter disgust of a man determined to abandon everything he once held as valuable.

What Have I Become?

That question, "What have I become?" is the most applicable. To me, performing an internal inventory can be purging and damning at the same time. As we look back at where we've gone wrong, we can confess it before God, and ask for forgiveness - and this purges us of our sins. However, when we take an honest look, not at our gross sins, but at our subtle ones; not at our actions, but at our motives - it is damning.

But God's grace is greater than all our sin. When we approach Him through Jesus Christ, we unlock the floodgates of God's infinite mercy with the key of faith.


  1. Very interesting, Jason. Thank you for sharing this. It definitely can make one reflect on one's life. As you said, God is able and eager to forgive.
    I would add that we are not senior citizens, as Mr. Cash was when he made this video. If God chooses, we may have several decades ahead of us that are fresh and full of opportunities to do the rights things with the right motives. It is important to remember that God is not only able and eager to forgive the past, He is able and eager to empower us to live our lives to His glory.
    Our lives are not bound by fate to end with the same sad regret so clearly expressed by Mr. Cash in this song and video. To say otherwise would be to deny the power of Christ. I am sorry that Mr. Cash may not have experienced the victory that Christ freely offers to the degree that he could have. His story does not have to, and should not, be ours. By God's grace, it won't be.

  2. 4. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
    - John 17:4, ESV

    7. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
    - 2nd Timothy 4:7-8, ESV

  3. Thanks Jay! I really like the two applications you made. Thanks for the insight.

  4. Peter is another great example of a man whom God restored from a place of regret (John 21; Acts 2, etc). I believe that Peter finished well (in the eyes of the One whom He followed). Yes, victory is possible.