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“No Insult Like The Truth” by Charlie Peacock — No drug as strong as pride, no blindness like conceit

30 Jul

“No Insult Like The Truth” By Charlie Peacock

I’ve run my ship aground
on the rocks of the soul
There’s no lie like independence
there’s no demon like control
I’ve fanned the burning embers
til my house was on fire
There’s no parody like power
There’s no fever like desire
I’ve drained the wine of darkness
to the dregs of deceit
There’s no drug as strong as pride
There’s no blindness like conceit

I’ve railed against the mountain
With a pickaxe and a file
There’s no minefield like presumption
There’s no death wish like denial

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

I’ve adjusted my prescription
til I couldn’t trust my vision
there’s no killer like convenience
there’s no sickness like omission
I’ve amended resolutions and resisted explanation
There’s no trap door like emotion
There’s no pit like reputation

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion
There’s no cancer like ambition
There’s no cure like crucifixion

There’s no gunshot like conviction
There’s no conscience bulletproof
There’s no strength like utter weakness
There’s no insult like the truth

This is part of a series dissecting the song “No Insult Like the Truth” by Charlie Peacock. In the series, I am taking two of the statements he makes and exploring the depth of meaning behind them and what I can learn about myself in the process.

Dear God, in English classes in college I used to be critical of literary criticism (no pun intended) and think that people were intentionally trying to make something out of an author’s piece that the author never intended. Sometimes a rock is just a rock and not the hardness of my soul. I bring that up now because I can’t help but wonder if I’m doing that with this song. Am I taking things that aren’t there and putting them there. If Charlie were to read what I’ve written about this, would he fall over laughing and pity me? I don’t know. But I guess the reason I’m doing this isn’t because of what he intended in it, but to see if there is anything that the Holy Spirit has to say to me through these words that Charlie wrote down years ago. I suppose reading poetry and literature isn’t always about what the author intended to say. Sometimes it’s about what their words say to me.

There’s no drug as strong as pride

I think there are two things that give drugs their power. First, there is the effect they have on you and then there is the addiction they create to maintain that effect. So what does pride give me? What is the effect it has on me? One big thing I think it does is make me numb to the needs and feelings of others. If I am prideful then I don’t care how my actions impact others. Their feelings must be sacrificed for my pride, and if that’s not good enough for them then they can leave.

A few years ago, I heard a public figure who claimed to be a Christian say that he had never found a need to ask you for forgiveness. Well, dying to yourself and crucifying your pride is ground zero/step one for a Christian. If I don’t need your forgiveness then I don’t need Jesus. He wasted his time on me. Of course, that is ridiculous. But holding on to pride numbs me from how my actions impact everyone, including you.

I went to a presentation on how to administer a drug called Narcan, which will save someone suffering from an opioid overdoes. They compared the effect opioids have on your brain with the vacuum tubes that lotteries use for selecting lottery numbers. The vacuum tubes suck the ping pong balls onto themselves and don’t let go. Apparently, that is what our neurons do with opioids. They suck them onto themselves and don’t let go. This masks whatever that neuron is supposed to be communicating, including anxiety and pain. Narcan’s role is to come in and almost instantly knock all of those ping pong balls off of the vacuum tubes. Within about a minute, all of those neurons are instantly experiencing everything the opioid had been masking. They said that after you give someone Narcan, get out of the way because within 60 seconds they will be really alert and angry because all of the pain and/or anxiety will be back in an instant.

I think I could make the argument that pride is the same way. When I decide to come to the foot of your cross and die to it…When I decide to lay down my self and embrace your Spirit then I am going to allow myself to realize just how many people I have hurt. Unlike Narcan, I don’t think the effect is instant. It’s something the Holy Spirit gets to work on with me over time. I am still discovering ways in which I hurt others and disappoint you, even 40 years after my baptism. You are still refining me and pulling out the dross. But none of it starts until I make that first step. There is no drug as strong as pride.

There’s no blindness like conceit

As I stop and think about the word “conceit” I think about the political situation in our country–especially among non-politicians. The hypocrisy is epidemic, and it’s on both sides. There are moderates who can look at and evaluate people objectively, but it seems like the most vocal people, whether they are the media themselves or those who have a lot to say on social media, can’t see beyond whether or not the politician in question has an R or D next to their name. For example, Republicans were merciless towards Bill Clinton and his philandering (and alleged sexual assaults) in the 90s while Democrats defended him. Now, Democrats are all over President Trump for philandering and alleged sexual assaults while Republicans defend him. There is a conceitedness among both sides. They can’t admit weakness. They can’t show vulnerability. They also can’t extend love and mercy to someone with the wrong political letter (D or R) next to their name because their conceit blinds them from seeing the log in their own eyes or the eyes of those they support.

So that’s politics, but let’s bring it closer to home. What about me? Where does my conceit blind me? I know I judge others all of the time. I judge them for being shallow and making poor decisions. I judge them for not humbling themselves before you. I do it all out of conceit. I used to judge parents whose children were struggling until I went through parenting struggles of my own. Yes, as I said earlier, the Holy Spirit is still working on me and revealing my sin to me because my conceit makes me blind.

Father, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for my pride. I’m sorry for my conceit. I’m sorry for my pettiness and meanness that are really just symptoms of the shame that I try to numb with my pride. Administer the Narcan of the Holy Spirit to me. And as the absence of pride and conceit reveal the insecurities and pain that were being masked, please help me to heal.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 

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2 responses to ““No Insult Like The Truth” by Charlie Peacock — No drug as strong as pride, no blindness like conceit

  1. Pam Cotten

    July 30, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Your first paragraph included a revelation to me as a retired teacher: “I suppose reading poetry and literature isn’t always about what the authors intended to express. Sometimes it’s about what their words say to me.” It leaves me thinking that if I could go back and do things differently with literary higher level thinking skills, I would stress author’s intent LESS and reader’s insight (and introspection) MORE. Your take-away in this case is interesting and food for thought. Yeah, if we could each one get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit strip us of these self-absorbed tendencies, He would be better able to reveal our insecurities that keep us from being who/what He intends us to be.

     
    • John D. Willome

      July 31, 2019 at 7:09 am

      It’s kind of along the same lines as when you’re listening to a sermon or something else and the Holy Spirit whispers something in your ear and you get a message from the preacher that the preacher didn’t necessarily intend. One thought sparks another in our minds, and we get to pursue that thought a little. It’s also like reading the same Bible story several times over the years and getting something different from it.

       

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