Taylor Swift, Pop Culture & Vengeance Featured
It seems like pop culture is obsessed with revenge right now. It might be a theme that's been floating around for a while, but it really came to a head at the VMA's the other day. Girl group Fifth Harmony – down to four members after Camila Cabello exited for a solo career – began their performance by throwing a fifth member off a water tank. Taylor Swift released the video for 'Look What You Made Me Do', which is thought to be about Swift and Katy Perry's long-running feud – and perhaps about her beef with Kanye West too. Perry herself has put out a revenge-themed single: 'Swish Swish'.
"So what?" You might be asking. "It's just entertainment. Who cares?" Yes ... and no. Pop music holds up a mirror to what is happening in our society. It reflects what is considered to be ok and not ok. If everyone who ever feels wronged for whatever reason starts lashing out, as a wise man once said: "an eye for an eye and the whole world is blind."
'Look What You Made Me Do' is a poisonous narrative. It normalises blaming other people for our actions. As Christians, we can make a conscious effort to be better than this. There is so much bitterness and hate out there – and holding onto it might feel easier than letting it go. Forgiveness, though, is what sets us free.
There are so many times in the scriptures we are reminded of this:
Mark 11:25 "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
Proverbs 10:12 "Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs."
Hebrews 10:30 "For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people."
I could go on, but what's important to remember is that revenge is totally contrary to what Jesus teaches. It traps us in anger and bitterness. Jesus offers us so much more.
The Gospel has the power to set us free from the cycle of anger and oppression. Christians are in a unique position to demonstrate this to the world. So rise above it! Be counter-cultural. Sorry Taylor Swift , but you're wrong on this one. Revenge is always a choice – and it isn't one that leads to healing.