Crying On Sunday

The Grammy Awards were tonight. In recent years, this awards show for music artists of all genres has become a shock-fest, with the music taking a back seat to political statements and celebrity publicity stunts.

This year’s show upped the ante by hosting a controversial marriage ceremony wedged briefly within a music performance of one of the nominations for song of the year. The ceremony included both heterosexual and homosexual couples. One has to ask, what couple would want to reduce the most sacred moment of their lives together to less than 60 seconds – a mere pause between cursing music? The special day you’ve dreamt of your whole life, now simply a muddled group ceremony with 30-some other couples, performed by rap star Queen Latifah with Madonna stealing the spotlight at the end? But, that’s another issue.

The song title is “Same Love.” It has been called “a gay rights anthem,” and is certainly no exercise in diplomacy. This is definitely a bomb strategically placed by liberal activists who wish to legalize gay marriage. CBS, the network airing the Grammy Awards, clearly declared their position in the battle against conservatives, Christians, and other religious factions or moralists who wish to preserve traditional marriage. The lyrics are by no means subtle. They bash “right-wing conservatives,” the Bible (an easier target than the Koran, I presume), and religion in general.

The song ends with the repeated lyric line, “Not crying on Sunday.” The lesbian singer (joined by Madonna for the Grammy performance) declares, “I can’t change, even if I tried, even if I wanted, I can’t change.” Then evocatively echoes the last phrase, “Not crying on Sunday.” When asked about the line, author Mary Lambert stated that it came out of years of trying to reconcile being gay and being Christian. Sadly, she has battled mental illness, manic depression and fought suicide. She credits this song for saving her life.

“…this was why I had never been able to kill myself through the years of my mental illness. I knew this is why I was still alive: This was the song that was so important, my God. I wanted to write a chorus that was poignant and honest; genuine. I really tried to not be gay at points in my life, but I was (and am) at a point where I refuse to apologize about my identity. I am not sorry about my gayness. I am not sorry I’m a Christian, either, though that’s far less persecuted than my gayness, which is ironically, instigated by the Christian community. “Not crying on Sundays” was a huge lyric for me to write. I cried and cried in church for a year, believing that I was going to Hell, trying to reconcile ‘the demons.’ At some point, it became absurd. I will not apologize for love. And my God, the God that I believe to be true, would never condemn love like this.”

Today is Sunday. I went to church twice today. In both services I stood in the presence of the Lord, surrounded by friends and family, and tears rolled down my cheeks. The phrase – “Not crying on Sunday” – is where Ms. Lambert just misses the point. Yes I went to church on Sunday. Yes I cried out to God. But it was not just an act of condemnation, but an earnest attempt to communicate my heart to my God.

“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy” (Psalm 61:1-3).

If I truly believe there is a God and that He hears the cry of my heart, why would I stop crying on Sunday? If Ms. Lambert also believes there is a God, why would she forfeit this opportunity to commune with Him? There is only one reason you give up in this way. There is only one reason you stop letting yourself cry on Sunday. The issue is sin. Crying out to God requires honesty, purity of heart. The penalty of sin is guilt. When we decide to stop crying on Sunday we have decided to ignore the sin problem. Ms. Lambert has convinced herself that crying is the problem, when in reality it is part of the solution. Crying out, asking for help, pleading our case before the Almighty, repenting and turning from sin is the way we receive the great gift of God’s grace. We don’t get the luxury of changing God’s nature by saying what we think He will or will not condemn. He is sovereign. To believe in Him is to believe in His Word. He will not contradict Himself. We don’t get the luxury to pick and choose which parts of His divine authority we accept and reject. We don’t get to decide among ourselves what defines sin and what doesn’t. If we accept Him, we accept His definitions and His authority over us and our thoughts and desires. When we sin against Him we must cry out. We must truly search ourselves that we stand before Him with clean heart and clean hands.

“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit” (Psalm 51:6-12).

The joy of walking with Christ comes from our repentance. It makes us free of the weight of sin and the consequences of separation from God. We cannot quit crying on Sunday because it is the very thing that gives us peace on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. When we are honest before Him, He is faithful to forgive us, and we reap the benefits of a life lived within the boundaries of His Spirit. Great joy, great anointing and great power to live an overcoming life are available to us through Christ. We cannot simply opt out of crying on Sunday.

“The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken” (Psalm 34:15-20).

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