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Switchfoot’s “Mess of Me” VS Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way”

I am sure that 99% of the people reading this blog post have heard the song “Born this Way” by Lady Gaga. Maybe 25% of you have listened to the Switchfoot song, “Mess of Me.” I actually just listened to this song not too long ago, and I couldn’t help but compare this song to Gaga’s Born this Way, solely due to the fact that they hold completely opposite mentalities. One song recognizes that the human heart is inherently wicked and that we have all made a mess of ourselves, needing some kind of redemption. The other song says, “I was born perfectly. I have no flaws, I am beautiful doing whatever it is I want to do or want to be.” Of course, most people who hear both these songs will naturally flock to the upbeat pop song that Lady Gaga created (in 10 minutes apparently) and love hearing that they shouldn’t feel any guilt at all for who they are, because A) they were born this way and B) God doesn’t make any mistakes, because He was the one who made you this particular way.

Compare the lyrics:

Switchfoot “Mess of Me”

I am my own affliction
I am my own disease
There ain’t no drug that they could sell
Ah, there ain’t no drug to make me well

I made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive

I made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
The rest of my life alive

We lock our souls in cages
We hide inside our shells
It’s hard to free the ones you love
Oh, when you can’t forgive yourself
Yeah, forgive yourself

switchfoot_gagaLady Gaga “Born this Way”

It doesn’t matter if you love him or capital H-I-M
Just put your paws up
‘Cause you were born this way, baby

My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars
She rolled my hair and put my lipstick on
In the glass of her boudoir

There’s nothin’ wrong with lovin’ who you are
She said, ’cause He made you perfect, babe
So hold your head up, girl and you you’ll go far
Listen to me when I say

I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way, born this way

Give yourself prudence and love your friends
Subway kid, rejoice of truth
In the religion of the insecure
I must be myself, respect my youth

A different lover is not a sin
Believe capital H-I-M
I love my life, I love this record and
Mi amore vole fe yah

Don’t be drag, just be a queen
Whether you’re broke or evergreen
You’re black, white, beige, chola descent
You’re Lebanese, you’re orient

Whether life’s disabilities
Left you outcast, bullied or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
‘Cause baby, you were born this way

No matter gay, straight or bi
Lesbian, transgendered life
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born to survive

No matter black, white or beige
Chola or orient made
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born to be brave

This is what Switchfoot’s message is with their song: We are a fallen human race. We have made a mess of ourselves. Just take a look at the horror and evil you see in this world. Rape, murder, genocide, pedophilia, etc. These are PEOPLE doing these things. Is Lady Gaga talking about those people too?Where does the line get drawn? Oh, rapist, just enjoy and love yourself today, cause baby you were born this way. Oh, pedophile, you go on ahead and love on those little kids, because God made you this way, and you enjoy it! Here is the truth guys. We are ALL a fallen people, every single one of us. Do you think that you are inherently a good person? Maybe you are a law abiding citizen, help out in some charities, and live your life not getting into anyone else’s business. Do we really, in the depth of our hearts and souls, think that we are a model standard of everything that is good in this world?

What would you do if you were put in a situation where food was scarce, you were driven mad with hunger and there was a child who had just snagged a bagel and was eating it in front of you? Would you sit next to that kid, pat his head, and be like “You enjoy that bagel, kid.” Maybe a few of you would. But most would either A) think about stealing it or B) steal it. My point is, at our core, we are not a perfect human race. We have plenty of flaws, so bad in fact, that we can’t even fathom some of the things we read or see on the news. And what is bad? How do we know that certain things are evil? Everyone can agree that murdering babies is wrong. (If someone doesn’t think that’s wrong then something is wrong with them). What makes it wrong? Is it just your opinion? If that is wrong, then what is right? Do we have a standard of something that is completely and perfectly good? Yes, I believe we do. I don’t believe that science or natural selection could provide humans with the sense of morality that we have. If this standard of ultimate good comes from God, then I believe Him when He tells us what is best for us, and what actions we should stay away from. He is the creator of the universe–I think He knows what He is talking about. Gaga is right. We are born this way, born with sin. No one is righteous except Him. Only when we realize how much of a mess we are, how we cannot keep living in this life trying to do things our way, can He begin working in our lives. In “Mess of Me,” the artists are saying to recognize that first, you are a mess, and second you are in need of some desperate help. They also say that once you realize this, you need to forgive yourself. This means you don’t live the rest of your life in guilt. You have been freed, knowing that you have been forgiven by the God that created you and loves you. You have been redeemed. I am not saying in any way, to think less of yourself constantly so that God can work more in you. I am not saying that he wants us to live life with low self esteem. On the contrary, I am saying to have a realistic idea of who you are, only then can you live a freeing life.

I love this quote, “The answer to “low self-esteem” is to understand that we do not DESERVE anything because we, in and of ourselves, are worthless. Yet, because the God of the universe has chosen to love us and redeem us with His very life, we have gained a value that is beyond compare. Knowing we are worthless humbles us before God and allows us to appreciate His grace and love, which are given to us even though we don’t deserve them. Knowing we are loved by God and redeemed by His blood, we see the value of each and every soul on this earth.”

Maybe Lady Gaga’s intention with this song was to celebrate how diverse we all are and that we should appreciate our unique personalities and talents that God has given us. I think she sincerely wants to have everyone love each other for who they are. I don’t have a problem with that. I do believe that we do need to love everyone. Jesus in the New Testament told us to love one another over 20 times. (And he did mean everyone.) Love isn’t the issue here. I believe Lady Gaga’s main (maybe a bit more discreet) message is that you should love who you are because you were born a certain way. I believe she specifically wants to address homosexuals with her song. Now, I am not going to dive too deeply in this, let me just say that it is uncommon for scientists to think that homosexuality is solely genetic. There are many factors as to why someone is homosexual. But even if it was, I would say, so what? Does that automatically mean it is morally appropriate? Yes, there are those who are genetically predisposed to be an alcoholic when they grow up. Do we still condone the act? There are those who are predisposed to become a sexual addict. Do we approve of that just because they were born that way? To learn more about this, click here.

Check out what this Denny Burk, dean of Boyce College and associate professor of New Testament , says about Lady Gaga’s understanding of being “born this way:”

.. It is true that God created human beings in His own image and that as a result every single human has intrinsic value and worth (Genesis 1:26-27). It is not true, however, that God endorses every thought and intention of the human heart. We live in a Genesis 3 world in which humanity and the cosmos are fallen and compromised by sin. That means that some of our desires are misdirected — even some of the ones that we are born with. That we desire sin from birth is not a cause for celebratory anthems but an indication of just how desperate the human condition really is (Psalm 51:5; 58:3; Jeremiah 17:9).

What kind of outlook do you have? Do you agree with the fact that we as a human race have made a mess of ourselves, or do you think that we all ought to accept the way we are because we are born this way?