Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cut You Down

So I've been listening to some of my old favorites on a youtube playlist this morning: Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, etc. Mostly just background, as I'm working, but I stopped to actually watch the video for one of the songs: "God's Gonna Cut You Down," by Johnny Cash. I've heard the song before, but I started wondering as I listened, because it almost sounds like an old black gospel style song. So I backed it up and watched the whole thing. (link here: ).

And the lyrics in the chorus:

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God'll cut you down
Sooner or later God'll cut you down

Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down
Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down

I'm really curious what the video producers had in mind when they made this video. Basically, it shows images of celebrities from ZZ Top, to Pink, to Kid Rock, to Justin Timberlake, Johnny Depp, Bono, and others, mixed with Christian symbolism. Naturally, a lot of the comments on the video were about how such horrible people didn't deserve to be on the video, and that the producers completely missed the point of the song. However, I think most of the commenters missed the point.

The song isn't about God sending people to hell. It's about redemption, for everyone, no matter what you've done. It's about asking forgiveness. I think Cash thought a lot about forgiveness. He had a lot in common with many of the celebrities that we like to spurn today. He was a hard drinker, he was a drug addict, he was a womanizer. And then he found redemption. I think if you don't understand where Cash was coming from with this song, you might see it as a warning; a picture of hell to scare people into behaving. I don't think that's right.

I think it's a picture of broken people who want to be redeemed. I think it's a song for everyone.


Jackie said...

Thank you for sharing, I wish I could see's so stupid that they have blocked so many content for the use in Germany. If it was blocked world-wide, but it is just blocked for Germany...*grrr*.

Aethelflaed said...

Oh, that's too bad. :( It's a good song, anyway, maybe you can find it somewhere else.

rachel said...

This is why I like you. :)