If a song that I like has a few sexual lyrics about women, does that make it wrong to listen to?

Imagine settling down with a beautiful wife one day and having a baby daughter. She looks just like your wife, and you are in love all over again. Now imagine the lyrics of the song you mentioned being sung about your little princess. Would you sing along? Would you download a copy of the song or blare it from the speakers in your car stereo? Odds are, you would shatter the CD or delete the song. If that is the case, why do we celebrate music that degrades the daughters of our heavenly Father?

Our answer? “Well, it sounds cool.”

I will grant that it is difficult to let go of music we like. Getting rid songs you enjoy may feel like an amputation. It is painful. At the beginning of my conversion, I had tons of music that I would not exactly sing in church. But I did not want to let go of it. It was “my” music, and I liked it. I figured, “I’m not a bad person because of it. I’m not going to go have a one-night stand after listening to it. I just like the music.” So I clung to it. But God has a funny way of asking for things that we do not want to give up.

I did not want to be fanatical about it, so I started by getting rid of my worst CD. There comes a feeling of peace when you know you are giving something up for the love of God. I eventually let go of one CD after another until my entire collection was purged. So give it a shot. Give him your worst, and he will give you his best.

A friend of mine once said, “If it’s not of God, then I don’t want anything to do with it.” Life for her was black and white, and all she cared about was glorifying God with the short amount of time he gave her on Earth. Saint John Vianney had the same outlook on life. In his words, “Here is a rule for everyday life: Do not do anything which you cannot offer to God.”[1] So if you know a song has parts that are displeasing to God and are likely to drag you down spiritually, listen to another song.

Better yet, take some time to listen to nothing. Because we live in such a technological age, it is difficult to discover the value of silence. For this reason Pope John Paul II recommended to young people that if they want to encounter Christ, “above all, create silence in your interior. Let that ardent desire to see God arise from the depth of your hearts, a desire that at times is suffocated by the noise of the world and the seduction of pleasures.”[2] By creating more room for silence in your life, you’ll find it easier to listen to God. And what he has to tell you is more valuable than anything.

[1]. Thoughts of the Curé D’Ars, W.M. B., ed. (Rockford, Ill.: TAN Books and Publishers), 25.
[2]. Pope John Paul II, “Message for 2004 World Youth Day,” Vatican City (March 1, 2004).

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