Nickelback - Side of a Bullet

A little more than a month ago, I wrote a devotion based on Nickelback's "Side of a Bullet." It was just published in Interlinc's most recent music magazine -- YLO 68. Here's the original I submitted - it's almost the same as the one published.

Song: Side of a Bullet
Artist: Nickelback
Album: All the Right Reasons
By: Kirk Moore
Union Congregational Church
Somonauk, Illinois

Teaching Point: Hate, Revenge

Opening Question: Have you ever really wanted to get back at someone?

Discussion: A common desire when people have suffered tragedy and loss is one of payback. We feel vindicated when the "bad guys" get what is coming to them. Yet Jesus call to us is one not of revenge, but of forgiveness.

"Side of a Bullet," a tribute to murdered former Pantera and Damageplan guitarist "Dimebag" Darryl Abbott, is filled with feelings of anger, confusion and profound loss. Listening to the song brings out sadness over tragic and senseless death – while at the same time acknowledging the desire for revenge. The haunting lyrics at the end of the song, "(I) scratched your name on the side of a bullet" are chilling in their call for plotting revenge on a murderer. The words, poetic and filled with rage, speak to any who have ever had thoughts of revenge.

In contrast with our desire for revenge, Jesus call is one of love and forgiveness. While "Turn the other cheek" isn’t an invitation to endure abuse, it is an instruction to seek love and forgiveness instead of revenge. "Love your neighbor as yourself," while a command to love our friends and relatives, is also a call to let God’s genuine love flow from us to all people. "Love your enemies," while not an excuse for hateful and criminal behavior on the part of others, is an unmistakable and difficult rule that seeks peace and reconciliation instead of payback.

Conclusion: Our angry thoughts and desires may seem appropriate in tragic and horrible situations. God’s love, however, is able to take that anger and shower it with forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.

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