Have you ever had a song which you loved and would sing over and over again, only to find out years later that you had been singing it wrong?
Here are a few examples;
In Beyoncé’s song Single Ladies the lyrics “got gloss on my lips, a man on my hips, hold me tighter than my Dereon jeans” often gets misheard as “My very own jeans“.
In Taylor Swift’s song Shake it Off, the line goes “Fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake. My friend heard, “Bakers gonna, bake, bake, bake.”
Or this classic;
Blinded by the light by Bruce Springsteen,
Many people have confessed to thinking the line goes, “wrapped up like a douche another roller in the night”.
The line actually says “Cut loose like a deuce, another runner in the night.” (by the way, a deuce is a fast car, which makes way more sense.)
My husband always thought that Bob Marley’s song Three Little Birds went;
“Rise up this mornin’
smiled with the risin’ sun
Three little birds
Sit by my doorstep” -instead of “Pitch by my doorstep“
He also shared with me a story about how his sister and a family friend almost destroyed the relationship between the two families over the lyrics to a song he can no longer remember. His sister insisted that the song said: “I can see, see them all.” Her friend believed it went “I can see, sea level.” Each girl told their friends about the dispute. It got back to the brothers and uncles and it wasn’t long before people were ready to go to war over it.
I’m sure you’ve had your own experience of mishearing something and having that eye-opening moment when you realize what the actual lyric is. Maybe someone got offended. Hopefully, there were some good laughs involved. In the grand scheme of things though, these are laughable insignificant mistakes which have no real bearing on our day to day lives.
In some cases like the Beyoncé example, people get the lyric wrong because they haven’t heard of this brand. This causes your brain to jump to the most logical alternative based on what you know.
In the case of Psalm 23 however, I knew the correct words: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,” but I heard the wrong meaning. I grew up believing the Lord is the shepherd that I don’t want.
” The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” Psalm 23: 1-2
For a long time, I could only hear what I wanted to hear. That God was a god I needed to resist and who would make me do a lot of things that I don’t want to do. I had a wild spirit growing up and the idea of green pastures and still waters bored me to tears. What if I wanted rugged mountains and adventurous rapids. What if I didn’t want to be a docile sheep. What if I didn’t want to lie down or be lead. I couldn’t trust God. I didn’t believe that He had my best interests at heart. This verse, which is so commonly used to soothe and comfort became a bone of contention that fueled my rebellion.
I struggled because I believed that God was real and very, very good. Unfortunately, I could not see myself as good, so to me, it didn’t seem like we would ever be right for each other.
When I came across this prayer:
“Oh Lord, make me pure, but not yet!”
Credited to St. Augustine, I took this up as my own. I loved it!
I knew I needed to be pure and behave like a much better person, but at that time I was having too much fun. I just wanted to spend my youth like everyone else. I wanted to live a little before I conformed to the stuffy world of religious rituals and good manners. After all, I wanted to get to Heaven, but I didn’t expect to be going there anytime soon. And to be honest I thought Heaven was going to be pretty boring too. Like a dull prayer service that just never ends.
Like my husband’s sister, I could have started a war because I wanted to stick to my own personal interpretation of this script. It took a long time before I was able to humble myself, take a second look and submit to the good shepherd. It wasn’t until I had become the lost sheep, tattered and torn, that I was able to appreciate the green pastures.
Scriptures are always interpreted through our own lens of personal experiences, attitudes, and beliefs. It can be hard to admit that we need to go back and re-examine what we thought we knew. We would do well to take our personal interpretation and assumption and reflect on scripture in light of what an authoritative voice on the subject has already said.
For example, many people believe that “Money is the root of all evil“. They then use this to justify all kinds of behaviour and they can be really defensive about their position. But the actual passage clearly states that it is the Love of Money, which is the route of all evil.
“For the love of money is the root of all evil“. 1 Timothy 6:10
This is just one of many examples. I’m curious to know if you have ever experienced something like this in your own life? Do you have a funny story about getting a song lyric wrong? Have you, like me, had to go back and learn to embrace a passage of scripture that you had previously rejected or ignored?
Some of our assumptions are harmless. It doesn’t really matter if you sing along saying “Dereon jeans” or “very own jeans”. However, if you don’t make a distinction between baking soda and baking powder, you’re going to quickly become acutely aware of the difference when you go to enjoy those scrumptious looking cookies that taste like cement.
When you fail to interpret the scriptures according to the way God intended them to be received, the effects are even more indigestible than concrete cookies.
The word of God should be like honey to our lips. Like milk to a babe and like strong meat to the mature. If it’s hard to digest it’s probably better to critique the chef rather than the recipe.
So, I want to know; what assumptions have you made about the word of God and have you ever gone back to double check? What did you discover?
Please, share your stories and experiences in the comments below.
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Until next time,
God Bless You!