Music has an astounding effect on our memory. It has been over 20 years since I watched an episode of “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood,” yet I can still recite his classic song, “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” Many of you can probably recall the “Ten, Two, and Four” jingle from old Dr. Pepper commercials, even though that jingle has not been used in decades.
Music also has an immediate impact on our emotions. Upbeat rock and pop songs are played at sporting events, because that type of music rouses excitement and “pumps us up.” Think of an emotionally gripping scene from a romantic movie; could the scene have affected you so strongly if different music had played in the background?
Music imprints on both our minds and our hearts like few other things can. Such power is wonderful, but also dangerous. Like an automobile, music can be beneficial if used responsibly, but deadly if used recklessly.
This is why the Bible commands us, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16). Songs of worship can teach us the faith by imprinting the lyrics in our minds, and admonish us by emotionally moving us to change. Through song, we have a mighty aid in our quest to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).
Unfortunately, songs of evil also have the power to teach and motivate. Songs of bitterness produce feelings of bitterness, songs that glamorize irresponsibility cause us to view irresponsible lifestyles favorably, and so on.
What do you sing? To what do you listen? The answer will shape the type of person that you become.