“In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't.”
This country music video has had 30 million views at the time I am writing this. In addition the Grammy performance of the same song has had 2.2 million views. It tells the story of an abused woman who was protected by a stranger. I have watched this video and listened to the song several times and was brought to tears every time. If you haven't seen the video, watch now, but have some tissues available.
Did you cry? This video tells a story and pulls on heart strings whether you more closely identify with the man or the woman. In some way, I identify with both. When I was young I witnessed my mom being physically abused on multiple occasions. At one point I witnessed a loaded 12 gauge shotgun being pointed at her head. I certainly know what it was like to live in a home where abuse was common.
I also have this protector drive built into me. Part of this is because I am a man. Yes, I believe that is part of God's created order. I am charged with the responsibility of protecting my family and others who are not able to protect themselves. Obviously my ability to protect has limits, but this is a strong motivation that through nature and nurture motivates me. It is probably the reason I practice martial arts and am competent with using firearms. It is probably the reason I love apologetics and defending the faith and protecting those who have put their faith in Jesus from wrong ideas that might threaten their faith. I want to protect them from fallacious attacks against their faith. The urge and compulsion to protect others is strong. Pastors are protectors of the sheep and I cherish that. This video and song taps deep into that protector instinct that exists within me and so many others. It also taps into the reality that we all know exists, that reality is that predatory men will abuse women and as a society we righteously find that repulsive.
This song and video are brilliant for several reasons and I'm not sure the writer of the song even realizes the brilliance. It taps into several realities, moral dilemmas, and innate human desires. Perhaps the most basic reality that is seen but not explicitly stated is the difference between men and women. First Peter 3:7 says, "Husbands, in the sam way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers." Are women weaker? Yes, they are. This is objectively and scientifically true, not to mention the reality that God's word says so. Strength and weakness are not characteristics of value and I'm not suggesting weakness of mind or will. I will not argue this point at this point, it is simply true. Men and husbands are therefore told to respect the weaker partner. Abuse is the opposite of respect! Men are to be protectors for this very reason. The strong are to protect and when that turns to abuse rather than protection, that is a reversal of God's design and an offense to God.
There is more, much more that this video taps into. Abuse is the opposite of Justice and their exists a deep desire in the human heart for justice. This is because we are created in the image of God and God is just. The song and video doesn't give all the details of the back story. Were the police ever called? Did they not do their job? Maybe they were called and there was some kind of manipulation or deception. Maybe they were never called. Government and police are part of God's design (Rom. 13). Was there a miscarriage of justice on the part of the authorities instituted by God? We don't know, but what we do know is that there is a deep desire for justice built into the heart. When we see a miscarriage of justice, our desire is to fix it.
This man fixes it, sort of. He takes justice into his own hands. Perhaps this could be justified if those who were supposed to carry out justice (again see Romans 13) had failed and refused to do their job, but we don't know if that is the case. The problem is he "fixes" it by murdering a man. My flesh wants to say, "he deserved it!" He did, but that isn't my place. "Vengeance is mine saith the Lord." I am not the Lord. What makes this morally difficult is the man's willingness to wait for the police and face the consequences. He trades his freedom for the freedom of the abuse woman. She walks free from abuse and he is put in prison. WOW! No, it isn't the same as the gospel, but it gets close. Jesus set us free by paying the price for our sin and satisfying the law on our behalf (read Galatians). I might be willing to make the same trade off he made in certain circumstances. If my daughter was being abused my a man (she isn't) I might be tempted to simply make the problem disappear. Who among us wouldn't face that temptation?
They don't run off into the sunset, he goes to prison and she gets the truck. Sure, she visits him, but his sin is murder and the one whom he murdered was guilty of abuse. Where is the hero? Is it the one who commits murder? Yet, that is the one we all want to say is the hero precisely because he murdered someone. But for the grace of God, there go I. Our desire to revere a murderer because he killed an abuser should reveal to us how throughly messed up the world is. I won't be the abuser, but somehow it is easier for me to see myself as the murderer. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God...there is no one righteous, no not one." God help us!
He has helped us. Jesus sets us free from the slavery of sin by paying the price for that sin on our behalf. Oh how beautiful that message is. "God so loved the world [you] that He gave his only son that whoever believes in Him [the divine, eternal, Son of God who took on human flesh and died and rose again for our sins and will one day return and make all things right] will not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
John Byrne is a pastor who has been spouting off his opinions his entire life (just ask his mom). This little blog is his venue for continuing in this tradition.