Music Monday: Eminem Gives Hope

Music has always been a major part of my everyday walk with God. Because I listen to a vast variety of music, God tends to find me in the most unusual of places and songs.  Recently, I have been extremely touched by Eminem's song “Not Afraid” from his latest album, 'Recovery.'  The song portrays the story of a man putting his life back together despite his mistakes and past, he shares with the world where he has been, and where he is going.  This is a song of hope, of recovery.

As a young adult, I am learning that my decisions affect many, and that growing up is hard.  I am learning that mistakes happen to everyone, and we are just trying to muddle through this weird thing called life. My journey into adulthood looks nothing like Eminem's but his latest song “Not Afraid” unites people in a way that can only give me hope.  While our roads have been different, the feelings are the same.

If you are not familiar with Eminem, he is a young man who came from a poor home and made it to be a multi-million dollar rap artist.  He has been scorned by thousands for his explicit language and his very public relationship with his wife and daughter. He is also known for his drug abuse, and his unstable and violent behavior.  However, we should not be so quick to judge. Eminem, just like you and I, is someone just trying to make it through the day, and we should remember it is his life being flashed all over tabloids, and not our own.  “Not Afraid” by Eminem is a song from the heart of a man who wants to start over, to make a difference, and to give hope to others trying to recover.

Because Eminem's explicit language in the first half of the song, I am only sharing the piano version with you.  However, I encourage you to open your minds and hearts to listen to the original version, as this is a man who is living in the world sharing his struggles and what his future holds.  The first half of the song (that is latent with words not acceptable for children) is a depiction of the man that he once was, and the latter half of the song illustrates the man whom he hopes to be, a father, a husband, a man of purpose. I think we have all been 'through the ringer' and this song shows that you are not alone in that. To listen to Eminem's original version of “Not Afraid”–click here.

 

Eminem has been going through some growing pains of his own over the years.  When I first realized the pain in his lyrics I was standing in a dorm room at college fixing my hair and listening to the radio. The song “When I'm Gone” began to play and I remember getting goosebumps listening to his heartbreaking lyrics as he sang about his shortcomings in fatherhood and marriage, and his constant battle with drug & alcohol addiction– and fame.  I remember feeling overwhelmingly frustrated when I was told to turn that trash off by someone down the hall. I fell asleep that night crying, feeling convicted by the realization that there were people out there hurting in ways that I never knew. That the people we hear on the radio are struggling to survive, and all eyes are on them. 

“When I'm Gone” by Eminem challenged me to listen to music in a completely new way, to watch the news and tabloids in a completely new way.  I began praying for these people, writing letters to them, and hoping that in some way they would find comfort in their fears, and peace in their hearts.  It wasn't a prayer for salvation, or a prayer out of judgement, but a prayer for a friend, a person I had come to know and love through their music.

As believers we have a responsibility to love and encourage people where they are, not where we may think we are already.  It is very easy for us to pass judgement for those in the spotlight as we sit comfortably in our own privacy.  Eminem has made mistakes, but so have we. The acknowledgement that celebrities are just like you and me, with hearts and feelings, and thoughts and passions is crucial and humbling.  We turn on our radios and invite music into our ears, but what if we began listening.  People are suffering right before our eyes, and we are pointing fingers at them, when really they need a hand to grasp. I am just as guilty as the next, and I continue to remind myself of these hard humbling facts:  We are all children of God.  He loves everyone of us as His own, and He doesn't play favorites.

Eminem's “Not Afraid” is a reminder that we are all 'walking this road together, through the storm, whatever weather, cold or warm'. My challenge to you this week is to pray for those who are suffering, those who are hurting, who are in recovery, those who are searching for hope.

I challenge you to listen to some of Eminem's music, to keep an open mind, and to look at this man with new eyes…you might be surprised by what he has to say—

“And I just can't keep living this way
So starting today, I'm breaking out of this cage
I'm standing up, Imma face my demons
I'm manning up, Imma hold my ground
I've had enough, now I'm so fed up
Time to put my life back together right now

It was my decision to get clean, I did it for me
Admittedly I probably did it subliminally for you
So I could come back a brand new me, you helped see me through
And don't even realize what you did, believe me you—
I've been through the ringer, but they can do little to the middle finger
I think I got a tear in my eye, I feel like the king of my world,

Haters can make like bees with no stingers, and drop dead
No more beef flingers, no more drama from now on,

I promise to focus solely on handling my responsibilities as a father.
So, I solemnly swear to always treat this roof like my daughters and RAISE it!
You couldn't lift a single shingle off it!

Cause the way I feel, I'm strong enough to go to the club
Put up a fight and lift the whole liquor counter up
Cause I'm raising the bar–

I shoot for the moon,  but I'm too busy gazing at stars

I feel amazing and—

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!”

 

Lyrics from “I'm Not Afraid” by Eminem

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  1. Riktorious said:

    I couldn’t have said it better Abbi! You have confirmed in me the need to reach out to musicians and actors who seem to struggle the most when from the outside looking in they seem to have it all. Maybe they do have it all in pain and suffering but until they meet Jesus they won’t understand what it means to have it ‘ALL’. He is the way, the truth and the life! Come one to Jesus, come all!

    November 19, 2010
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  2. Mary Boscaino said:

    Abbi, even though this was the first time I heard the Eminem song in its entirety, I had seen an interview with him on 60 Minutes a month or so ago. He’s been through so much more than many of us, that the language in his songs is understandable. I believe you have to listen within the context of where that person is or was when the song was written to appreciate it. You’re right. Celebrity is not a stranger to hurt and disconnectedness. And even he could still be suffering like so many others are, but at least now he gives some hope to those who are finding themselves in that same negative environment.

    November 24, 2010
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  3. christopher5 said:

    Abbi, I thank you for you article and for showing us a man who is devastated and hurting by the effects of sin. What I think your article doesn’t emphasize enough is that we as believers need to point people to Christ and the forgiveness and salvation that his life and death have brought. Loving and encouraging people like Eminem will only push someone deeper into the cycle of trying to find redemption from their problems in themselves. Eminem’s lyrics have always been about him working hard enough to make things right. As Christians, we aren’t called to judge Eminem, but we are called to tell him about Christ. That is real love and encouragement. The only way for them to find comfort from their problems and fear is in Christ. This is the message that the music industry needs to hear; not one of inward-looking deliverance.

    April 3, 2011
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  4. VoiceofTruth said:

    This article seems a bit confusing to me. Is it an endorsement to listen to Eminem, a plea to pray for him, an attempt to get people to relate to one another through suffering, or all three? I guess I fail to understand how encouraging people to listen to music that is not only laced with profanity, but contains such abundant themes as sex, drug use, denigration of women and those are just the mild themes. Even by your own admission this song referenced here is profanity laced, “Because Eminem’s explicit language in the first half of the song, I am only sharing the piano version with you. However, I encourage you to open your minds and hearts to listen to the original version, as this is a man who is living in the world sharing his struggles and what his future holds.” The end of verse 1 in the original rendition of this song is so appalling that I could not in good conscience even type it out with asterisks because of the suggestive theme alone. And Christians should listen to it? Music has such a profound influence on the mind that I would caution recommending ANYTHING by Eminem. In fact to do so is a blatant disregard for Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, it there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, thing about these things.” I seriously doubt if any of Eminem’s music would qualify for any of those adjectives as laid out by the Apostle Paul. Finally you add, “I challenge you to listen to some of Eminem’s music, to keep an open mind, and to look at this man with new eyes…you might be surprised by what he has to say” Would this surprise include such songs as “Guilty Conscience” where he represents himself as the “evil-conscience” encouraging the rape of a 15-yr old girl? Or perhaps “Cleanin’ Out my Closet” where he puts into lyrics the hatred he has toward his mother. Or maybe even the song “@ss Like That” where he describes his visual and physical stimulation at the sight of a female. Surely this is not sanctifying music for “children of God.” It would seem more fit for those of their “father the devil” John 8:44 and those who “follow the prince of the power of the air” Ephesians 2:2 I mean no disrespect, but I think the level of discernment needs to be raised a bit higher when endorsing a particular artist for recommended listening. As a Christian who still cannot rid his mind of the lyrics from secular rap music from over 20 years ago, I would not encourage anyone to listen to anything from Eminem. If you would like to be edified by rap music, I would suggest such Christian brothers as LeCrae, Shai Linne, or Flame. Pray for Eminem. Write him. But avoid soaking your mind with his music. He needs the Gospel and that alone is power of God to save him. In Christ

    July 1, 2011
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  5. Weaverman3 said:

    VoiceofTruth, I’m not trying to start an argument. Eminem recently has had the right mind but explained in a very explicit way… Which is unfortunate because people view him as a bad person who really needs help. If you’ve heard recently Eminem nearly died from drug abuse. After that he sought out to change him self into a better man or to come clean so to speak. I’m not saying he is devoted to Christ or has his mind completely where it should be but it’s a start and his newer songs are very motivating if you can just look behind his lyrics and realize what he’s been through and what he is doing to improve himself. Although he is still very explicit he’s heading in the right direction. The songs that you gave as an example were all while he was under the influence of drugs. His new songs are from his heart and about his love for his daughter. Though some are still pointless and bad. I think if you can listen through the profanity you will see the points he is trying to make to help himself and possibly others.

    August 11, 2011
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