I am glad to see that you already have a very “sensitive conscience” regarding music, for you are spot-on regarding music with “bad messages and profanity.” The fact is “lyrics” are the most important thing to consider when it comes to music. I believe one should be safe “lyrically” when listening to contemporary Christian music and there are many artists who have beautiful songs that truly exalt the Lord Jesus Christ (and God the Father). I would point out that the “instrumental style” may be a factor to consider. For example, if a Christian rock band uses very hard and loud instrumentation, this may indeed block out the good lyrics they are trying to convey to their audience. Many Christians may also find it distasteful to listen to what sounds identical to heavy metal bands made up of unsaved men and women. Having said that, I want to avoid telling you exactly what you should or shouldn’t listen to, for you must be guided by your OWN CONSCIENCE and the scriptures.

Two good scriptures to guide you (i.e. your conscience) in whatever music you listen to are 1st Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23. They say, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought UNDER THE POWER OF ANY…All things are lawful for me, but not all things are HELPFUL; all things are lawful for me, but not all things EDIFY” (NKJV). In the first verse (6:12) Paul is speaking of how the New Man in Christ (see verse 11) has been brought into a place of liberty, for he/she is free to enjoy anything that is not sinful “in and of itself.” But then he tempers that thought by saying one must be careful unless the “thing” he enjoys brings him into bondage. I have known some Christians who seem to live and breathe “listening to music.” They are often found with earbuds in their ears which takes away from their (face to face) fellowship with other believers. They may also neglect Bible studies and times of prayer in favor of listening to music. This would be a case of BONDAGE that hinders their spiritual growth. The second passage (10:23) deals especially with how our actions affect other believers. To illustrate, we may have liberty to listen to many different kinds of music (Christian and secular), but will this be HELPFUL and EDIFYING to our brothers and sisters in Christ? Verse 24 goes on to say, “Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.” If the music we listen to causes our brother to stumble in some way, then we would be guilty of “tearing him down” instead of “building him up.” So, we must also take into consideration our “brother’s CONSCIENCE” and not allow our actions to embolden him to do something against his conscience. I would add that besides thinking of our brother, we should, first and foremost, be thinking of our blessed Lord and whether or not our actions are approved by Him and bringing Him glory. Verse 31 declares, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or WHATEVER YOU DO, do all to the glory of God.”

I want to close by saying I am an avid fan of good “instrumental music.” I believe it can be very “soothing to the soul.” An example of this is found in 1st Samuel 16:14-23 where David was used of the Lord to soothe King Saul’s troubled spirit. In verse 16 the servants of Saul said, “Let our master now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a SKILLFUL PLAYER ON THE HARP; and it shall be that he will play it with his hand when the distressing spirit from God is upon you, and YOU SHALL BE WELL.” We read nothing of David singing lyrics of any kind, so this teaches us music can be “therapeutic to the soul,” even if it’s not what we would call “Christian music.” I would also add that music can also be “entertaining,” and there is nothing wrong in enjoying the God-given talents of a musician as long as one adheres to the principles outlined earlier from 1st Corinthians 6:12 and 10:23-24. (314.4) (DO)