It's All About Whom Anyway?

The youth “love themselves more today than ever before,” according to Dr. Nathan DeWall, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky (Source: The New York Times). DeWall and his team analyzed hit songs spanning three decades (from “Ebony and Ivory” by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder to “I’m Bringing Sexy Back” by Justin Timberlake) and found that there’s “a statistically significant trend toward narcissism and hostility in popular music… narcissism has been linked to heightened anger and problems maintaining relationships.” (Ibid) Simply put, the lyrics of these songs exposed a growing mindset shift among late adolescents and college students from an “It’s all about us” towards an “It’s all about me.” According to the study, “the words ‘I’ and ‘me’ appear more frequently along with anger-related words, while there’s been a corresponding decline in ‘we’ and ‘us’ and the expression of positive emotions… Their song-lyrics analysis shows a decline in words related to social connections and positive emotions (like ‘love’ or ‘sweet’) and an increase in words related to anger and antisocial behavior (like ‘hate’ or ‘kill’).” (Ibid) According to Dr. Jean M. Twenge, a co-author in the study and a psychologist at San Diego State University, “In the early ’80s lyrics, love was easy and positive, and about two people… The recent songs are about what the individual wants, and how she or he has been disappointed or wronged.” (Ibid) This egotistical trend can even lead to deep depression. (Ibid)

As I read the article, I can’t help but think about our worship songs nowadays. Now I am not putting down contemporary songs to put classic songs on a pedestal. I believe we should enjoy our rich heritage of worship from “The Old Rugged Cross” hymn to Chris Tomlin’s “How Great is our God.” (I really like how Tomlin rearranged “Amazing Grace.”) However, there seems to be some praise songs nowadays that focuses more on what we feel rather than on who God really is. There are also so-called worship songs that reflect a shallow theology. It appears that worship has now become a “feel-good” event instead of a “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” encounter with the Almighty. Try reading Isaiah 6:1-8 and see how worship can become a life-changing experience.One cannot worship God and be selfish at the same time. Worship is all about God’s worth.

Brethren, worship is about God, not about us.

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