I guess I just lost my husband / I don’t know where he went
So I’m gonna drink my money / I’m not gonna pay his rent (Nope)
I got a brand new attitude / And I’m gonna wear it tonight
I wanna get in trouble / I wanna start a fight
So so what? / I’m still a rock star
I got my rock moves / And I don’t need you
And guess what / I’m having more fun
And now that we’re done / I’m gonna show you tonight
I’m alright, I’m just fine / And you’re a tool
So so what? / I am a rock star
I got my rock moves / And I don’t want you tonight
You weren’t there / You never were
You want it all / But that’s not fair
I gave you life / I gave my all
You weren’t there / You let me fall
Pink’s song “So so what” has become so popular that it is literally played almost every hour on radio stations. There are many reasons for the song’s popularity, and one of those reasons is that the message resonates with people. Pink sings this song as a song of retaliation against her ex-husband from whom she’s just been divorced. She wants him to know that she is not hurting one bit. She is still a rock star. Her life is still great. He’s an idiot and she wants him to know it. He let her down. He wasn’t there for her. He did her wrong, but now she’s doing great!
There are many songs that have similar messages: Carrie Underwood “Before he cheats,” Taylor Swift “Should’ve said no,” Toby Keith, “How do ya like me now,” etc. Songs like these resonate with many because they know what it is like to be wronged. They know what it is like to be let down, abandoned, or cheated on by a spouse (or boyfriend or girlfriend). They know the pain and nastiness of divorce. When we are wronged there is always a tendency within every one of us to get the person back. Some live by the motto, “I don’t get mad. I get even.” Some retaliate to get even by leaving, some by violence (Louisville Slugger to a car headlight), some by gossip (i.e. Taylor Swift’s “Picture to Burn”), and some by a life well lived… Pink is retaliating by living a life that makes others, including her ex, jealous. He is just Pink’s ex, but she is still a rock star! There is something deep within all of us that wants to crack a smile at this kind of retaliation. We understand it. We believe that wrongs need to be made right. We believe that someone who hurts another should get what is coming to them. We especially believe this when WE or someone we love is the one who is wronged.
The Gospel speaks to our need for wrongs to be made right (payback). The reason we long for justice is because we are made in the image of God who is just. God will repay evil. God says, “Vengeance is mine. I will repay” (Rom 12:19). While our desire to see wrongs made right and evil punished is a part of our sense of justice because we are made in God’s image, our desire to be the executor of that vengeance by holding a grudge, gossiping, or retaliating in some way is sinful. We are putting ourselves in God’s place as the arbiters of justice. We do this because in those moments we do not believe God is just. We don’t believe he will get the person back who has wronged us. The Gospel message is that God did not turn a blind eye to evil and abuse and sin, either done by us or done to us. Instead, God poured out ALL of his just wrath against sin on His Son. Jesus took God’s just wrath in the place of sinners. That means that sins done to us by others are not let go as if they are not big deals. The person who wrongs you is either an unbeliever who will remain an unbeliever and be punished forever for his sin in hell, or he (or she) is or will become a believer in Jesus and his sin was paid for in full at the cross. You and I don’t need to execute justice because it has been executed already. When we hold the grudge or retaliate or say to them “how do you like me now,” it is because we don’t really believe that the cross of Jesus is sufficient to cover all sin and we don’t believe Hell is real.
We have a sense of justice, and that is why songs like Pink’s “So so what” and movies like the Count of Monte Cristo appeal to us. We love to see wrongs made right. We love to see evil repaid. We love to see evil people get what is coming to them. We love these things, but what repels us is when we are called to trust another to deal with the abuse done to us or called to repent in order that judgment not come upon the evil we’ve done. Pink is finding her satisfaction in the fact that her rock star status means she has won in this relationship breakup. That satisfaction has an element of truth (as well as sin) because it comes from a heart that longs for justice. My prayer is that her satisfaction will be found instead in a man “who, when He was reviled did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23).
Spot on analysis Jonathan. I pray that all who read this will lay down their desire for vengeance at the cross. Thanks for writing this.
Articles like these put the consumer in the driver seat-very imnoatrpt.