Monday, October 3, 2011

What do you do when you write a song you don’t necessarily agree with?

You see, the problem I’m wrestling with is whether or not forgiveness and anger can coexist.

This morning, I ran across the facebook of a former…enemy?  The kid I got into a fight with nearly every gym class in the 6th grade.  He’s the kid who made it a point to make me look foolish and enjoyed it.  It still makes me angry to think of those times, though I haven’t thought of it in years.  The funny thing is, as I run across these people on facebook, I know they aren’t the people they were.  Even with just the profile picture of happy kids and a happy dad or an interest in a dance ministry, it’s clear the object of my anger no longer exists.

On the way to work today, I started writing what might have ended up a punk anthem:
I am gonna forgive but not forget
‘Cause I’m not gonna put up with your [take breath]
But I’m not gonna go down with the ship tonight
I can’t … not care what you say
But I’m still gonna live my life my way…

But as I process through all this, I wonder if it’s even possible to write an angry song about forgiveness and still be honest.  Is it forgiveness if you harbor anger, even against someone who no longer exists?  And is that the kind of message I want to define myself into? 

My son recently decided to come home from school.  He had made a friend in the few weeks he was attending, and we found that his friend attends a local church.  I decided to drop him off at the Sunday school so they could have some time to hang out.  My three-year-old daughter and I were going to have a ‘date’, but she also decided she wanted to try the Sunday school; I was stuck with what to do.  You see, the pastor of this church is the guy who scouted my praise band for members of his ‘new and exciting’ church praise band.  He’s the one who (reportedly) took people from our church after refusing an offer of help, saying ‘it’s not my fault I can do it better than you’. 

I confess I have anger.

I sat through the last of the music (it was quite good, as expected), and watched a slick video clip welcoming everyone to church.  The lights came up on the pastor, who started with a story from his time in “Juvie” and proceeded to loudly and emphatically talk about how God wants you to ‘win’ at life.  It was a bit Olsteen mega-church for me; I was glad I was in the VERY back, all by myself.  But when he started talking about how he’s not perfect and about peace and forgiving others, but that you still need to have boundaries so people can’t hurt you again, I realized that Truth speaks even through ‘enemies’.  This guy was talking to me about himself, and he didn’t know it.

Back to my punk anthem. 

Is it fair to judge people on their past?  Is it really even worth it to let that anger live rent free?  Can I really have forgiven someone if I still get angry about what I ‘forgave’ them about? 

I deleted the song from my list of possibilities.  I don’t want to feed that wolf.