I watched the Country Music Awards broadcast for the first time a couple weeks ago. As a current Nashville resident, I have been reading the local paper, The Tennessean, which has made me a little more knowledgable about current country music.
It was the usual award-type program with tributes to big names like Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks and Randy Travis. One thing that was different from programs like the Oscar awards was that some award winners mentioned religion. A couple said their thanks and also “God bless you.” One even used the J-word (Jesus.)
This did not upset me. In my experience, religious participation is good for people.
And then there was the award for the year’s best song, “Humble and Kind,” from Tim McGraw’s most recent album. McGraw performed the song during the program.
The song was written by Lori McKenna, who writes from Massachusetts, where she lives with her husband and five kids. It’s a simple song, mostly a list of advice she wanted to share with her children.
Most important is the refrain: “Always stay humble and kind.”
The song was a huge hit, but I hadn’t heard it until two weeks ago. I’m not sure it’s my favorite song ever, but it seems apt after a political season when humility and kindness were not much on display.
If you were raised Christian, as I was, you know that Matthew’s gospel says, “He who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.”
You also know the parable about the rich man who does not feed or help a poor man named Lazarus. At his death, the rich man is not admitted to heaven, but Lazarus is.
Whatever you believe, it’s a good idea not to preen about your importance and also to be kind to others. Even people with secure lives are vulnerable to illness, crime, accidents and simple bad luck. If we try to ease the suffering of others, we may be helped ourselves in moments of need.
These principles are not unique to Christians. When it came time to make McGraw’s video, Oprah Winfrey contributed footage of people from various who were part of her television series, “Belief,” that was broadcast in 2015 on the OWN network.