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Hip-hop website DJ Booth caught Kendrick Lamar’s attention after writing an article about how he and Chance the Rapper display their faith differently. To the site’s surprise, Kendrick responded to the article (titled, Praise & Questions: How Kendrick & Chance Talk to God in Different Ways) in less than 12 hours. He also allowed the site permission to post his unedited response, which came via email.
In his message, Kendrick touches on the fear of God, reminding readers that although God forgives, sinning does not go without punishment. He calls this concept the “hard truth” about karma. He also admits it brought him closer to God. “I went to a local church some time ago, and it appalled me that the same program was in practice,” he started. “A program that I seen as a kid the few times I was in service. Praise, dance. Worship. (Which is beautiful.) Pastor spewing the idea of someone’s season is approaching. The idea of hope. So on and so forth.”
Lamar described how only one aspect of God seemed to be the focus. “As a child, I always felt this Sermon had an emptiness about it,” he said. “Kinda one sided, in what I felt in my heart. Fast forward. After being heavily in my studies these past few years, I’ve finally figured out why I left those services feeling spiritually unsatisfied as a child. I discovered more truth. But simple truth. Our God is a loving God. Yes. He’s a merciful God. Yes. But he’s even more so a God of DISCIPLE. OBEDIENCE. A JEALOUS God. And for every conscious choice of sin, will be corrected through his discipline. Whether physical or mental. Direct or indirect. Through your sufferings, or someone that’s close to [sic] ken. It will be corrected.”
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Lamar had more to say: “As a community, we was taught to pray for our mishaps, and he’ll forgive you. Yes, this is true. But he will also reprimand us as well. As a child, I can’t recall hearing this in service. Maybe leaders of the church knew it will run off churchgoers? No one wants to hear about karma from the decisions they make. It’s a hard truth. We want to hear about hope, salvation, and redemption. Though his son died for our sins, our free will to make whatever choice we want, still allows him to judge us.”
After all of this, Lamar shared how he believed it was his purpose to express the totality of God., “I feel it’s my calling to share the joy of God, but with exclamation, more so, the FEAR OF GOD. The balance. Knowing the power in what he can build, and also what he can destroy. At any given moment.”
Lamar finally concluded, “I love when artists sing about what makes Him happy. My balance is to tell you what will make Him extinguish you. Personally, once that idea of real fear registered in my mind, it made me try harder at choosing my battles wisely. Which will forever be tough, because I’m still of flesh. I wanna spread this truth to my listeners. It’s a journey, but it will be my key to the Kingdom. And theirs as well. I briefly touched on it in this album, but when he tells me to react, I will take deeper action.”