The CCM song “Listen to Our Hearts” is either confused or distorted: there are several things about its lyrics, some more serious than others, that seem to me to disqualify it from the corporate worship repertoire if not from all worship of God.
How do you explain,
How do you describe
A love that goes from east to west,
And runs as deep as it is wide?
A love that spans from east to west is pretty expansive, so I suppose it’s pretty deep too to be as deep as it is wide. This is about God’s love, it seems by the east-west nod to the Psalms.
You know all our hopes,
Lord, you know all our fears,
And words cannot express the love we feel,
But we long for You to hear.
Suddenly, without warning, we get switched to our love for God. Took me a while to figure that out. Unexpected, but alright.
“And words cannot express the love we feel, / But we long for You to hear” means either of two things:
- that words are a bad medium – potentially a blasphemous insult to the Holy Spirit’s inspiration of Scripture, which must be more difficult than talking about our own love;
- that our love is too great for words and needs a better medium.
Let’s take option two, since option one is destructive and useless. Now the chorus:
So listen to our hearts (O Lord, please listen);
Hear our spirits sing (and hear us sing)
A song of praise that flows (a simple song of praise)
From those You have redeemed (from those You have redeemed)!
Apparently, having said that there is a better medium of our love than words, the songwriter is claiming that our hearts are that better medium. Certainly, God does know our hearts, but if anyone thinks that what God will see (or hear) is good, look again and reflect on Jeremiah 17.9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” On the other end, of course, we do have what the Holy Spirit does in us. Still marginally fine.
Here Lies the Rub
Now here is what troubles me:
We will use the words we know
To tell You what an awesome God You are,
But words are not enough
To tell You of our love,
So listen to our hearts.
Apparently, words can tell of God’s awesomeness, but words cannot tell of our own love for God. If I’m reading this right, it’s saying our love for God exceeds His glory. Even though our love, including the emotional response, should be quite strong, I don’t think this can ever be true.
Can I still sing this in church without wondering whether I’m singing blasphemies? Hmm.