I have to confess that Eminem intrigues me. Strictly as a musician/rapper he is about as talented as it gets, but beyond that, his story just keeps my attention. I am a psych/counseling nerd and listening to his songs is like listening to a case study. Through the course of his career he has expressed a history of relationship woes, personal traumas, family drama, abuse, addiction, and so much more (along with his effort to see just how far he can cross the line while expressing it all!) You can certainly tell that there is a high degree of exaggeration and boundary pushing in his music, but when you listen to his music as a whole, you can tell that there is also a high degree of honest confession and reflection with a disregard for the opinions of others. This man knows pain and struggle, and has no problem creatively expressing it.
He sends a very attractive message in his latest offering. Feel free to look up the video for his song “Not Afraid” on youtube. Just be warned, its not edited and full of language some of you may find offensive. Watch at your own discretion.
Whether he genuinely intends to or not, Eminem is gonna reach out and give comfort to a lot of people through this song. Music has this magical way of speaking to a person’s heart. On top of that everyone wants to find someone they can look up to who has been through the storm, come out alive, and is willing to lead them through their own struggles. That’s exactly what Em offers as he declares in the chorus…
I'm not afraid to take a stand
Everybody come take my hand
We'll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just let you know that, you're not alone
Holla if you feel that you've been down the same road
As the song continues, Em raps about some of his recent personal struggles. He acknowledges that he is always under the fire of critics. He confesses that his last album was a failure (it sold plenty of copies, but critics trashed it, and even many of his loyal fans considered it to be awful.) To top it off he even discusses his recent battle with addiction and his efforts to clean himself up. His declaration is that he is overcoming his struggles and that you can too! Just follow him…
Your kids are going to cling to this. Honestly, many “grown ups” who are into the current hip hop/pop music scene will too. MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter updates are going to be littered with quotes from this song (they already are really.) Why? Because Em offers people a sense of comfort (superficial as it may be) and allows them to receive it as they are, without having to feel bad about the struggles in their life.
Reminds me of someone else…
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. -Jesus
Jesus offers us comfort (Psalm 119:49-50), peace (John 14:27), and freedom (John 8:36) as we are. But beyond that, he desires to transform us in a way that overtakes our struggles and pushes us beyond them. Eminem offers superficial companionship and has no solutions. Jesus offers real companionship plus a solution. You can listen to Em’s song, feel a little bit of camaraderie, have your heart touched for a few minutes, but then you have to go back and deal with whatever you are trying to escape. I understand the comfort music can provide at times (no matter what artists or genres you are into) but none of it fulfills like Jesus.
Jesus wants to transform you. Let him. He’s the only one that will truly walk with you through it all.