But My Eyes Still See
There is a song, a love song by from the sixties entitled Silence Is Golden written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio. At that time it was a very popular song. Listen to the lyrics:
Oh don’t it hurt deep inside
To see someone do something to her
Oh don’t it pain to see someone cry
How especially if that someone is her
Talking is cheap people follow like sheep
Even though there is nowhere to go
How could she tell he deceived her so well
Pity she’ll be the last one to know
How many times will she fall for his lines
Should I tell her or should I be cool
And if I tried I know she’d say I lied
Mind your business don’t hurt her you fool
Silence is golden
But my eyes still see
Silence is golden, golden
But my eyes still see
But my eyes still see
But my eyes still see
This is a song about love but love that hurts. It hurts because the beloved does not know the one who deeply cares for her is watching her being abused by another who is using her and is unfaithful to her. The words say, “Silence is golden” but the reality is that it is not.
The Old Testament passage today from the prophet Isaiah begins with these words, “Let me sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard” (Isa. 5:1 NRS) It too, is a song about watching a beloved be abused by those who are unfaithful. The prophet does not think silence is golden, and so he speaks.
Have you ever known someone with a broken heart? Maybe it was a friend, family member, peer or fellow worker. Perhaps you, yourself have had your heart broken by someone at some time. If you have not experienced this pain, the broken-ness, it is hard to know just how painful, how agonizing, how depressive it can be.
God reveals to his prophet Isaiah that the divine heart is broken. It is broken by God’s own people who treat God with contempt and have failed to be thankful for all God has done for them. Isaiah seeks to communicate the feelings of God through a story about a vineyard. Isaiah tells us a story of a vineyard that has been cared for lovingly and carefully, but instead of producing the fruit for which it was created, this vineyard produces nothing but bitterness and trouble.
The words of Isaiah let us know that Isaiah feels for God, his beloved God like the individual in the lyrics of the song. “Oh don’t it hurt deep inside/ To see someone do something to her/ Oh don’t it pain to see someone cry/ How especially if that someone is her. Isaiah not only feels the pain of God, he feels the betrayal of his own people, the people he serves. Do not the people of God understand how much pain and suffering they are causing not just to God, but to themselves as well? Why can they not see? Silence is not golden and the prophet’s eyes can see.
One of the saddest things about damaged relationships, is that often people do not realize the damage they do until the consequences of their actions catch up with them. It is so easy to say the wrong thing, make a foolish decision, ignore or simply pass by an opportunity for to express love or care or to take a loved one for granted.
I used to hate sitting down and doing a serious examination of my own life for I can remember so many times I have hurt, damaged, or neglected a relationship. I did not realize at the time just how important this relationship would be to me or just how much damage I had done through my actions. Oh how I wish I could change the things I did.
In the book of Psalms, Psalm 80 captures the anguish of the psalmist as the psalmist reflects on their situation the people were going though because of the grief they were causing God. It seems as if God has abandoned them. The psalmist, like Isaiah, also uses the example of a neglected vineyard. The Psalmist pleads with God to relent. The vineyard, the nation, the people were suffering. The problem is God is not the one who has brought this upon the people, God’s chosen unfaithful people. They brought it upon themselves. The had listened to their own desires and not God’s word. Now, they are facing the consequences of their actions. They are like the person in the lyrics,
“Talking is cheap people follow like sheep/ Even though there is no where to go/ How could she tell he deceived her so well/ Pity she’ll be the last one to know.”
“Silence is golden, but my eyes still see.”
The psalmist, however, expresses a desire for a new relationship, a restored relationship, a true reciprocal relationship and this is a step in the right direction. The psalmist cries out, “But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself. Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name. Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved. (Ps. 80:17-19 NRS)
The psalmist knows that God is a redemptive God. God is not a God who enjoys the pain of the people. God wants the relationship to be restored.
And what does ask of us for the relationship to be restored? God asks of us to have faith. Not a blind faith based just on words. God knows how words can be deceptive and a self-deceiving cover human beings sometimes try to use when we are afraid or are trying to get what we want. The type of faith God ask for us to have is a faith based on God’s actions, upon promises God has made and kept. The kind of faith we see in Hebrews 11:29-12:2. A faith that calls us to believe the great cloud of witnesses that surround us.
Listen again to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit speaks through the writer of Hebrews, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:1-2 NRS)
This is the faith of a growing relationship. This is the faith that transcends the lies of this world and the deceptions which surround us. This is the truth we need. How often have God’s people of the past and the church of the present be misled by a false reality. How many time have we been like the one in the lyrics of the song, How many times will she fall for his lines/ should I tell her or should I be cool/ And if I tried I know she’d say I lied/ Mind your business don’t hurt her you fool.
Yes, the truth may hurt, but silence about God is not golden. Silence about Jesus is not golden. Silence is exactly what the powers and principalities want from those of us who know the truth, who have seen the light, and have felt the love. Even if they do not believe we must tell them. We must show them for they are our business.
In the gospel passage for this week Jesus himself tells us that we often will make people mad. We will face rejection and maybe even hurt a relationship, but we will not hurt it nearly as much if we keep silent about the human condition and the love the God has for all human beings. Yes there is a time for silence, but not when it effects the eternal destiny of those who we should love.
In the lyrics of the song the individual who is watching what is happening to the person knows it will not turn out well for them. The person knows the girl is being used. The person knows she is being lied too. The person knows she is going to be devastated when she finds out and she will find out. But the one who knows is more concerned about her feelings toward him. He is afraid to take a chance. Does this apply to us? Are we afraid to take a chance and tell people how this world leads us to lies and deceptions? Are we willing to tell those who are being seduced and spiritual abused?
The person in this song is trying to convince themselves silence is golden, but his own words reveal how this is not true. He states three times, but my eyes still see. In Luke Jesus tells use to pay attention to what we see. He tells us in this fallen culture there will be conflicts and crisis. We must pay attention and courageously act. We must responded to the need, to the truth.
Again, Silence may be golden, golden
But God’s eyes still see
But our eyes still see
But my eyes still see.
What will I do about it?