Well, the summer has finally arrived here where The Doctor lives. The weather is warming up and it’s time to head to the beach and catch some rays. But before we go, let’s take a quick look in the mailbag and check out some of your recent questions.
This edition features a two-part question that raises some really important issues. So let’s check it out- then grab your shades, some suntan lotion, and your favorite mp3’s and let’s hit the shore!
My question is this: How can you worship the Lord but at the same time be yourself? What I mean is like listen to non-Christian music (but not bad music) or hang with non-Christian people (but they are not bad either)
Ok, let’s take the music question first. The Doctor doesn’t believe that all non-Christian music is bad but he does believe that we should be very selective in what we choose to fill our minds with. To help decide what’s “good” and what’s “bad” to listen to, try asking yourself these questions…
- What does this song/group say?
- What does this song/group mean?
- What is this song/group communicating about my faith?
If you get some negative answers to these questions (even a few) then it’s probably not a good idea to listen to that song or group.
Be careful not to fall into the trap of saying to yourself, “I don’t listen to the words, I only like the music.” Many people claim to be able to listen to songs over and over without “hearing” the lyrics but that’s just not true. To illustrate why this is so, just imagine that you are having a conversation with someone in a crowded study hall or lunch room. There may be dozens of other conversations going on around you but you don’t “hear” any of them, right?
But what if something important (like your name) is mentioned in one of these other nearby conversations- what then? Well if you are like most people, you would immediately take notice of the conversation that mentioned your name even though you weren’t actually “listening” to what was being said. You see, while you were engaged in conversation, your mind was also busy monitoring the other nearby conversations to alert you to anything important (like someone speaking your name). This happens because our minds process and sort out everything we hear without us even realizing it. In a similar way, our minds also process the music that we listen to- even the lyrics.
Over time, a particular song or lyric that is repeated over and over can become internalized within us. This is why people can memorize things like television commercials and advertising songs without ever actually “listening” to them. For this reason, The Doctor would caution you to be very careful about the groups and songs that you choose to fill your mind with. Whenever possible, it’s good to look for Christ-honoring bands that are playing what you like to listen to. If you’d like to read a little more on this subject, you can also take a look here and here
So now let’s talk about friends. The Apostle Paul makes an important observation about this question in 1 Corinthians 5:9-10 when he says this…
So the Bible says that coming into contact with people who don’t believe in Christianity is a fact of life. The world is filled with many different kinds of people and The Doctor believes that we can (and should) have friendly relationships with non-Christians. However, Paul also gives us this word of caution a little later on in 1 Corinthians…
We have all known people who have changed after they started hanging around with a different group of friends, right? This happens because our friendships help influence who we are as individuals. For this reason The Doctor believes that it’s important to be wise in our relationships with people. It’s one thing to have non-Christian friends and acquaintances. But your really close, tight friendships and relationships with others are best reserved for people who share your faith.
The Bible has a lot to say about choosing your friends carefully- check it out…
The Doctor would encourage you to think and pray over these questions carefully. Ask God to give you guidance and direction regarding your music and your friends and He will do it! (see James 1:5).
Do you have a question for The Doctor? Just send it to the email address above- you’ll get a personal reply and you just might see it answered here.