I need Jesus, or I need whiskey…..Whatever works best to get me through…Gettin’ over you
(from the song “Neon Church” by Tim McGraw)
Recently, I heard the song “Neon Church” by the country artist, Tim McGraw. In the song, McGraw sings about the pain of a recent breakup and his need for a “Neon Church” to help heal his wounds. Alcohol and the company of other women are mentioned as part of the healing that he needs. He mentions that he has tried praying, but it didn’t seem to help, so he was turning to a “neon church” to get him through his pain.
As a Christian, this song can be offensive to us. It can be considered sacrilegious and alarming to see the things of the world chosen over the things of God. As followers of Jesus, we believe that the healing we need is found in Christ. He is the one we look to heal our emotional and spiritual wounds that we all experience from time to time. Sometimes, this doesn’t happen in the time frame that we prefer, but we wait patiently to experience our healing as we place our hope in Him.
As a Christian, this song may offend us, but we have to stop and remember that the majority of this world does not view life through a Christian lens. Their worldview is different. They may dabble in Christianity from time to time. They may attend a worship service or pray when they are in need, but they don’t live their daily lives with a Christian worldview. Instead, they turn to the “neon churches” of this world. These neon churches are everywhere. We can see them in large cities like Nashville (check out lower Broadway any night of the week) and we can also find them in Shelbyville. People come to these gatherings to find healing at the end of a bottle or glass or in the company of someone who can make them forget the pain and hurt they are experiencing in their lives. Every night, not just on Sundays, neon churches are full of people seeking healing from their hurt and trying to find hope to sustain them in a difficult world.
Of course, we know this healing is only temporary and fleeting. It’s only a band aid that will eventually fall off after the high is gone. Another trip to a neon church will be necessary to numb the pain and help forget the problems of life. As you read this, maybe you have sought healing at a neon church. Maybe, from time to time, you still do. It’s tempting to want a quick fix to our pain even if it doesn’t provide the lasting healing we really desire.
Instead of reacting with offense to this concept of a neon church, what if we responded by sharing the hope we have in Christ with those who are hurting around us? What if we shared our testimony of healing with those in our lives who are wrestling with emotional and spiritual pain? What if we shared how we moved our hope and focus from a neon church to being part of the church that meets to worship and serve the One who has given us the healing we need? What if we were willing to wade into the messiness of someone else’s story to point them to the hope and healing that awaits them in Christ?
Neon churches are a sign that people are hurting and seeking relief and healing from their pain. May our church point them to the hope and healing they will only find in Christ. Whiskey never heals. Jesus heals. Let’s point people to Jesus.