Thursday, 16 June 2011

The What Does Matter?

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Then What Does Matter?

Linkin Park’s well-known “secular” song, In the End, portrays a spiritual struggle in which the singer searches for what really matters when life on earth is finished. He tries to explain to the listeners the things he has learned from his mistakes and also warns them against things like time and satan’s strategy. The singer stands as a symbol of anyone who is actively pursuing a closer walk with God and continually finds them self struggling. As time passes, the singer grows spiritually and begins to realize that things that were important are not anymore, and the things that seem to matter now “will eventually be a memory of a time when...”

“I tried so hard and got so far and in the end it doesn’t even matter I had to fall and lose it all and in the end it doesn’t even matter.” The singer expresses his frustration with the problems life has thrown in his direction. No matter what he does, no matter what he accomplishes, his worldly efforts are meaningless to God. The singer has figured out that hardly anything he does on earth has any eternal value and is upset with himself for letting life’s irrelevant problems discourage him. He has come to realize that all that matters is whether or not you believe in Christ and have strived to live your life according to His teachings. The singer is overwhelmed with life’s petty problems, and now he has realized he needs nothing more than faith to get through it. By repeating the lines “in the end it doesn’t even matter,” the singer expresses his feeling of relief in knowing that none of this matters in the end. This realization has restored his faith and allowed him to persevere in the hard times he may be facing. The singer “had to fall and lose it all” only to realize that he has not lost anything; his faith resides in his heart, and nothing can take his salvation from him. Although life’s road may be bumpy, he will not let the little things break him down, because “in the end it doesn’t even matter.”

“I put my trust in you pushed as far as I can go for all this there’s only one thing you should know.” When a person dedicates his/her life to following Christ, they have no choice but to trust Him completely. This is a cry to God; the singer has reached a spiritual plateau that has disabled him to go any further. “Pushed as far as I could go” expresses that he has been a Christian for quite some time and is struggling with completely trusting, and following, God. He is at a point in which he is spiritually exhausted and has realized that in order to continue, he has to give his trust completely to God once again. There is a feeling of monotony in this statement, as if the singer has been to this place before, expressed in his repeating the line twice (much louder and with more feeling). However, he has reached this level place knowing that in order to move he has to trust God, and he will not remain at this point much longer. He has recognized that the one thing God needs to know is that he has moved into a position of complete submission to His will. Pride and a lack of humility often keep Christians from leaving these places of stagnation where they will remain until they decide to trust God again. It is important for Christians to realize that these types of mistrust and stagnation results from a series of actions that can begin with a single act.

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“It starts with one thing... it doesn’t even matter how hard you try.” In the opening line of the song, the singer briefly touches on the downward spiral of sin and mistrust by explaining where it all begins... with one thing. One solitary second of mistrust or backpedaling is enough to give satan something to work with and no amount of resistance can convince him to stop trying . The singer uses this line as a way to warn listeners of the power of evil in all of us that can start to take over when one thought or action goes against God. He does not say, however, that it can be prevented, because turning away, falling, and sinning are all inevitable characteristics of being human. The singer is explaining that everyone is a sinner and no amount of effort, or even the passing of time, can change that fact.

The singer dedicates almost the entire first verse to the value of time, “time is a valuable thing.” The singer realizes that he spends most of his present time “trying to hold on” to the time and keep his mind in the past; he constantly thinks of the times he has failed, times he has stumbled, times he has turned completely away from God. “The clock ticks life away;” the clock serves as not only a symbol of time, but also as a symbol of reality and judgment. The reality of it all is time, and the fact that it does not stop. As the singer spends his time focusing on the past and all the time he has lost, time continues to move forward causing him to lose more time. When he realizes what he has done, it is all just a memory and was not worth the worry in the first place. The singer finds that he spends the majority of his time trying to forgive himself for the things he has done; however, his repentant heart and request of forgiveness has already allowed God to forgive him, and his extra worry is a waste. The singer’s struggle with time displays the power of time and the fact that each tick of the clock brings us one step closer to our day of judgment. This first verse causes the listener to question how they are using their time, and if they are spending it trying to forgive themselves, to trust and to glorify God, or to please other people.

“In spite of the way you were mocking me;” the singer’s struggle with opposition, be it satan, his enemies, or his friends is expressed in this statement. It seems as though he has consistently been scoffed and warns the listener against these types of resistance. He tells of how he still “tried so hard” in the face of hostility and ridicule. Man was born with free will and the ability to chose; he belongs to no one. The line “acting like I was part of your property” is directed at satan, or evil. The singer makes it known that he has overcome evil before, and he can, and will, do it again. He remembers all the times he struggled with satan’s tempting him with sin and all the tension surrounding his pursuit of a closer walk with God.

The singer has undergone the salvation experience; he has become unrecognizable; everything about him has changed. His outlook on life is totally altered; his past is no longer an issue; he is only concerned with the future and with his walk; his attitude has taken a complete turn toward righteousness; and he is willing to lose everything on earth to gain anything in Heaven. “Things aren’t the way they were before you wouldn’t even recognize me anymore.” This kind of change is often hard for friends and family to accept, because they only know the old person and will often mock their new-found manner. The singer warns the listener against this by pointing out the fact that things have changed he is now unrecognizable. He does not want the listener to give up because of ridicule and resistance but to persevere, because it does not matter in the end.

Linkin Park’s In the End tells the story of a sinner, the singer, who has decided to live his life for Christ and declare war on satan. In spite of the fact that everyone is subject to satan‘s grasp, In the End leaves the listeners a message of hope that they can beat the enemy as long as they trust in God. When satan appears to be so near and God seems so far away, Linkin Park’s lyrics remind us that satan’s grasp is only as tight as we allow it to be, that we will fall no matter how hard we try to remain steady, and that “in the end it doesn’t even matter.”

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