Vices

Feeling cold, feeling empty. Set the stage, where you want me.
And this crowd right before me doesn’t care that I’m dying.
And the audience stands with their eyes fixed on the preconceived version of me.
I’m so betrayed by your hopes, but I will not hide myself for your peace of mind.

Oh, but Child. I’ve got Vices like any other man.

Raise a boy to a cynic. Take his love, and then let it turn into something passionate.
Something sick, something rabid.And I vent to keep myself from caving.
I don’t hate you, I just hate where I’m heading.
I’m left here asking, when did I trade in my bleeding heart for a selfish win?

Oh, but Mother. I’ve got Vices like any other man.
Vices that you’re not used to. Vices that’ll make you think less of me.

Leave me numb. Leave me jaded. She’s a dream, I just play dead.
I’ve been blessed, I’ve been hated. She’s the constant, and I’m her addict.
She’s the only peace in this world, uneasy.
While I bite my tongue to keep from breaking the heart that I’ve spent my whole life seeking.
The only heart I’ve ever needed.

Oh, but Lover. I’ve got Vices like any other man.
Vices that you’re not used to. Vices that’ll make you think…
Oh, but Lover. I’ve got Vices like any other man.
Vices that you’re not used to. Vices that’ll make you think less of me. Less of me.

Feeling cold, feeling empty. I am low, unworthy.
Bleed the God. Bleed the blessing. Like a vulture feasting.
I’ll exist as if I don’t feel conviction of my ignorance to my perfect prison.
But I feel the stabs on my wrists and ankles every time I try…

To forget You. To forget You.

Oh, but Jesus. I’ve got Vices like any other man.
Vices that You’re so used to. Vices that won’t make You think less of me.

I have been listening to this song a lot lately for two reasons: One, it is simply a great song. And two, I think it speaks to the struggle of living in light of the imperfections in our image within a culture that so desperately seeks perfection and harshly judges those who don’t meet that standard.

Dead Poetic’s Vices confronts the current of life that we get lost in when we try to find value in the bipolar motives that pollute our earthly beings. The song begins with a man on a stage that is set to please his audience. His responsibility is to entertain the minions. They don’t care that his soul is longing for something deeper and they would be shocked to know that something inside of him actually hurts. When they see a crack in their “preconceived version” of him, his only defense is to appeal to their understanding that he is no different than anyone else because he feels unworthy of their attention. We all have vices and his should not be elevated. This can easily be paralleled to any sort of superficial celebrity imperfection we are shocked about (Megan Fox has weird thumbs!?), but it can also be applied to our desire to please others. I often find myself living a lifestyle that is dishonest for the sake of “saving face” and making myself look like I am in control when I have no idea what I am doing. And when others see something broken in me, my heart responds feeling unworthy of anyone’s respect, “I’ve got vices like any other man.”

The next portion of the song travels through this character’s upbringing – his broken, loveless life has resulted in selfish anger and lashing out at others. In reflecting, he sees how people have failed him and led him to places that have brought him nothing. He has been raised to be a cynic, probably because he was brought up by one, and reacts with a certain sensitivity to criticism. His loves were taken and whatever was left was made his passion. In his appeal to his mother, he desperately wants her approval and he wants to find value in her, but he knows that being completely open will shed light on vices that he believes will make her think lowly of him.

In the following section of the song, our character is searching for value in a relationship. He is left numb and jaded by everyone else, but he has found the only heart he has ever needed. The only problem is that he is not finding complete satisfaction because he has to “bite (his) tongue to keep from breaking the heart (he’s) spent (his) whole life seeking.” There is a superficial tone in every corner of that human interaction. It seems that this woman is interested in him only because he has successfully sealed off the bleeding sores on his heart. Even with this lover he has spent his whole life seeking, his vices will make her think lowly of him and he feels as if he does not deserve her attention. He cannot find true value in her either.

Yet, in his lowliness…in his unworthiness…in his cold and empty pit of despair…in his desperate attempt to run away from everything and everyone that has failed him, his denials run dry and his pursuit finds clarity. He is reminded of sacrifice. He is reminded of forgiveness. He is reminded by stabs on his wrists and ankles every time he tries to forget our Savior. Yes, his heart is full of wicked, filthy vices, yet Jesus yearns for a relationship with him. Those vices may surprise the world which so easily forgets the condition of our hearts, but none of them surprise Jesus. He already bled and died for them.

When I listen to this song, I am reminded that it is the world that tells me I have a standard of perfection to live up to – not Jesus. It is the world that judges me in my imperfection – not Jesus. It is the world that cannot give me value – not Jesus. It is the world that lacks the ability to complete me – not Jesus. He is sanctifying my life while bring me into holiness, He is glorified by my faithfulness and not my perfect abilities, He gives me value by my faith in Him, and He has conquered death so that I might have life in Him. So what does it matter if people think less of me while I live in honest community? The Creator of our universe loves me and He loves an honest heart. Although my life manifests plenty of deceptive actions, it truly is a waste of time to fake happiness or control or anything else in our relationships because that is a worldly manifestation and not one from God. My heart is full of sickeningly wicked vices…

Vices that You’re so used to. Vices that won’t make You think less of me.

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