Why does “bad” music have to sound so good? Since I became a Christian I always feel a little uncomfortable when I hear certain lyrics of my favorite songs. It puts quite a damper on singing along when I find myself belting out profanities and blatant sexual references. I tried to switch my repertoire, exploring contemporary Christian genres but, no matter what I tried – rap, rock or praise – it just didn’t take. In fact, I had a visceral reaction to it, but not in the way I should. In one particular worship service I nearly mutilated the program brochure I was holding, pained by the seemingly endless songs being performed. I know a lot of people like it and that’s great. I feel guilty that I don’t and even guiltier because what I do like is the bitter opposite of Christian music. Do I have to stop listening to mainstream music? Is it sinful to support it or worse yet, to enjoy it? Is popular music the devil’s domain?
Update: Well I did a little research to answer my own question and (unfortunately?) the Bible is pretty clear on this topic. Peter 2:18 says "For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error." (NIV) Not only does this imply that we as Christians should stay away from those who talk boastfully and glorify sinful nature but it appears that this message is targeted towards new Christians who are most susceptible to falling back into a worldly lifestyle.
I did, however, find another passage that says something that surprised me. 1 Corinthians 9:21 says "To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law." While I certainly don't think this means I should become a die-hard fan of T.I. and his songs about dropping obscene amounts of money and explicit sexual lyrics, it does sort of imply that I should be aware of him (and others like him) as a way to understand where he's coming from. Sort of like knowing what we Christians are up against. The fact that listening to these songs does make me uncomfortable and has increased my awareness of the lifestyle that many non-Christians aspire to, might actually be of some benefit. God laid it upon my heart a few months ago to find ways to help at-risk, inner-city teens get on the right path, and that was a direct influence of hearing the lyrics of mainstream rap songs. God does work in amazing ways, doesn't he?