You humble me, Lord
On her new release, Feels Like Home, Norah Jones sings these words in the chorus of a song written by band member Kevin Breit:
“You humble me, Lord
I’m on my knees empty
You humble me Lord
You humble me Lord
Please please, please forgive me.”
Though written by a man, the song is about a woman “gone too far, broken down at the side of the road, stranded at the outskirts.” The song doesn’t say the outskirts of anywhere, which is beautiful because it speaks of a spiritual condition beyond the physical circumstances.
Another indication, to me, of its spiritual nature is, “I’m on my knees empty.” How many people come to The Salvation Army who are also broken down, but with a worldly view of their circumstances? They say, “I’m at the end of my financial resources, please extend my resources.” Not, “I’m empty.”
I think it must be my job to tell them, “Yes, I was broken down too, and more than once. I finally realized I would always be broken down as long as I was without a Savior. I still find myself stranded on the outskirts sometimes, but now I know I am always within the reach of my Savior, Jesus Christ.”
The message of the gospel is never more complex than that. Because of sin we are all stranded at the outskirts. Without the plaintive cry at the end of the chorus, “Please, please, please forgive me,” there is no recognition that sin is at the center of our condition and circumstances. The truth that sin lies at the center of our condition brings us close to God because he already has a solution to that problem: his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
But the world around us has put that truth far away and replaced it with three concepts, as stated in “We Hold these Truths” in the March/April 2004 issue of Discipleship Journal written by William Farley:
1. God is tolerant.
2. Men are basically good.
3. Men can and must earn God’s favor.
Farley calls these “Deadly Assumptions.” He notes, “These three assumptions are systemic to humanity. They are part of the sin package with which we are born, and it is very hard to root them out of our thinking.” Counter to those assumptions the gospel teaches, God is not tolerant, HE is HOLY; we are not good, we are sinful; we can do nothing to earn God’s favor, only believe in the atonement of Jesus Christ and his work.
To acknowledge our need for a Savior is to acknowledge we are empty and separated, in need of forgiveness. In the words of the song: “Please, please, please forgive me.” That is the cry that reaches our Lord’s ears.
— Steve Strauss
Fort Collins Corps, Colorado
Feels Like Home written by Kevin Breit © Poverty Playlist (SOCAN)