Saturday, March 31, 2018

If I Were You


If I Were You 
(Lyrics and Music by Wayne Watson, 1999, “Field of Souls”)  
If I were You, if I ran this place
There wouldn't be no mercy, no
There wouldn't be no grace
And people that wander off and go astray
I'd make real sure that they would pay
Yeah, that's what I'd do if I were You

And if I were You, if I ran this town
The righteous would be sitting pretty
And the rotten would come tumbling down
Oh, they'd beg and they'd wrangle for a second chance
I'd say, "sorry, boys, but I just can't"
Yeah, that's what I'd do if I were You

But You know me, I'm just a man
Of unclean lips and unclean hands
Some of the thoughts I have
Make me want to run and hide, yeah
Well, I don't know much, but I observe
You've never treated me like I deserve
Your loving arms are always open wide, yeah, yeah

Oh, well, You know me, I'm just a man
Of unclean lips and unclean hands
Some of the thoughts I have
Make me want to run and hide, run and hide
Well, I don't know much, but I've observed
You've never treated me like I've deserved
Your loving arms are always open wide, open wide

If I were You, oh, catastrophe, ooh...
I wonder what in the world
Kind of world would this world be
I guess I'll take my place
Wrapped in amazing grace
Let You be You
Uh-huh, that's what I'll do
Yeah, that's what I'll do
Yeah, that's what I'll do, ooh...

A few days ago, I ate lunch with some new friends and our conversation ranged in many directions and then settled in on philosophies about God and man. We come from very different perspectives on such subjects, but all agreed that the troubles of this world ultimately come down to humans being cruel to other humans. My friends complemented me on being a kind, forward-thinking, religious, person. If I had thought quicker on my feet, I would have quoted Solzhenitsyn’s words to them:

“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains ... an unuprooted small corner of evil.

Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.”


The song lyrics quoted above and Solzhenitsyn’s words tell us what we already know. We are usually people who strive to be good and do right. We think of ourselves and our friends as the better part of humanity. Yet, inside all of us lurks evil that has never been uprooted, a small weed in the corner of our hearts. If God allowed any of us to “run the world” it would be a catastrophe. That is why God asks and we do well to acquiesce to letting God be God while we humans take our place "wrapped in amazing grace." “Uh-huh, that's what I'll do.”


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