MercyMe is one of my favorite musical groups. I like a lot of different kinds of music, but I am especially drawn to music with profound Christian lyrics. Bart Millard is the lead singer of MercyMe and writes or co-writes the lyrics to most of their songs.
There is a popular song from their recent album titled Dear Younger Me. Bart Millard explained the story behind the song, and his explanation gave the lyrics greater meaning. Millard’s dad became a Christian before his death, but he wasn’t a good man when Millard was just a boy. Millard described being beaten by his father and how as a young child he felt blame for his parents’ divorce.
Millard also described a note he had written to a friend who is a professional baseball player. This man was also abused as a child and said that the baseball field became the place in his life where he felt safe, where his abusers couldn’t “get to him.” Some of the song’s lyrics came directly from a note that Millard had written to this friend. Millard writes:
If I knew then what I know now
Condemnation would’ve had no power
My joy, my pain would’ve never been my worth.
If I knew then what I know now
Would’ve not been hard to figure out
What I would’ve changed if I had heard.
Dear younger me
It’s not your fault
You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross.
Millard wanted his friend to understand how God’s salvation had released him from a difficult past. The cross had been a place to lay down painful memories and gain the joy and freedom Jesus died to provide. When Bart Millard was trying to write this song, he remembered the note he had written his friend and as he reread that note, those words became the lyric he had been searching for. Now that message has blessed millions who have listened to the song.
If you wrote a letter to your “younger me” what would you want to say? What was part of your life before the cross that you have laid down, or maybe still carry today? We often speak of the cross as our symbol of eternal salvation but it is also the place of our current redemption. There are past sins, past mistakes, past griefs, and even past misconceptions that Jesus died to redeem. The cross means we are saved, but also that we are safe right now.
Every now and then I like to use this blog post to give others a chance to share their hearts and their faith journey. I would like for this week’s post to do that. As you think about your childhood, or any part of your past, what has God called you to lay down at the cross? Maybe you placed it at the cross the moment you were saved. Maybe you returned to the cross years later to lay it down. Maybe you listened to the song or read this blog post and God revealed something you have continued to carry.
What in your life were you “never meant to carry” beyond the cross?
Pray, and if God leads you to share your story with others, use the comment section to share your thoughts. God made us to need each other and help each other. Your words might be the “song” that someone else needs today.
What would you say to your Dear Younger Me?
Join us at www.christianparenting.org and chime in on this week’s discussion question: What are your favorite child activities for summer?