Creed -- "My Own Prison," Part 1

"My Own Prison" -- Lyrics by Scott Stapp

Court is in session, the verdict is in
No appeal on the docket today
Just my own sin
The walls are cold and pale
The cage made of steel
Screams fill the room
Alone I drop and kneel
Silence now the sound
My breath the only motion around
Demons cluttering around
My face showing no emotion
Shackled by my sentence
Expecting no return
Here there is no penance
My skin begins to burn

(And I said oh)
So I held my head up high
Hiding hate that burns inside
Which only fuels their selfish pride
(And I said oh)
We're all held captive
Out from the sun
A sun that shines on only some
We the meek are all in one


***

It still amazes me that this song was played on the radio so often... so much that during high school I actually grew tired of hearing it. But, like other songs that get tons of radio exposure, I grew tired of it without ever actually knowing the lyrics. It wasn't until Creed's later work ("My Sacrifice" and "Higher" in particular) that I started recognizing the band's spiritual astuteness. This was during college, soon after I was saved.

***

"My Own Prison" is a powerful illustration of sin, or the fact that we have sinned by breaking God's law. More to the point, these lyrics describe one man's genuine realization that he is sinful and there are frightening consequences to his sinfulness.

Notice that the song is titled "My Own Prison," not "Just Some Prison I'm Trapped In" or "The Prison God Imposed Upon Me." Stapp reacts to his own faults appropriately by calling it "his own." This hints at the first step toward reconciliation with God: The realization that we need reconciliation in the first place.

Most people will admit that they are not perfect, but few will take ownership of their spiritual trespasses to the point of asking God for help. Some go out of their way to brag about how "bad" or rebellious they are, but this is spiritually childish as well as counter-productive. Anyone who recognizes the disgusting ugliness of their sin would be foolish to brag about it. The only appropriate reaction to realizing our spiritual uncleanliness in light of God's holiness (which is hinted at in His law) is to fall to our faces and beg for mercy. This is the first step to obtaining mercy: Desperately wanting it.

God's law (the Ten Commandments for example) serves as a spiritual point of reference, to remind us that we are spiritually bankrupt. Take the commandment that says "Don't Lie;" this should remind anyone who reads this that they are a liar. Or we can see the law that says "Don't steal," and realize that we are all thieves.

Jesus clarified the exacting nature of the law when he said, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (refer to the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7, for more examples.)

"Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith."
-- Paul to the church in Galatia, (Galations 3:24)

to be continued in " Creed -- 'My Own Prison,' Part 2 "


3 comments:

Alexandra said...

I absolutely love the song and have always the felt the lyrics were the best thing about it. Thanks for the great reminder. :)

Charles and Rebecca said...

I always found it amusing that "creed" was considered a christian band - even though they took the name of the Lord in vain multiple times in the songs on their albums. despite that I did like several of their songs.

patrick said...

yep, C&P, i heard about that cursing thing; i suspect that Stapp was trying too hard to counter-balance the fact that he doesn't want Creed to be called a "Christian" band