I think it was 2003 when I discovered Linkin’ Park. I was in high school and I think my friend Cliff is the one who sneaked their album to school. It was the stuff of Saturday afternoons.
Something about the way the lyrics gloried in sorrow made pain cool. Chester Bennington was the voice of a generation of angst-filled lonely hopeless teenagers trapped in ennui. Addiction, darkness and disappointment, and not trusting people and embracing ourselves as failures. That was, and though I don’t listen to such music anymore, I think still remains the subject of much of hard rock and metal music.
Slowly and without my being conscious of it, I disconnected with the music. I think the more I wanted to know Christ and wanted to serve Him in my life, the more I got a sense of purpose and the sense of purposelessness gradually diminished. I [thankfully] realised that I now connect more with hope and glory and light. Sometimes we know we’ve grown because old gloves don’t fit as snugly any more, if at all. Praise Jesus.
So, whence all this gum flappin?
Chester Bennington died yesterday. It is reported he was found hanging and is believed to be a suicide. He was 41. Sadly, people are very quick to throw charges of selfishness and cowardice. I’ll hold my tongue on the ignorance behind such accusations.
Maybe Bennington finally lived out the implications of the nihilism he inadvertently worshipped. Hopefully inadvertently. Maybe the walls finally closed in. I read that he battled addiction to drugs and alcohol.
For an honest unbeliever, who is not afraid to acknowledge the pointlessness of his life, life is unbearable. The darkness of a Christless world is real. Christian apologists call this the existential argument for the existence of God. Living makes no sense if we’re living for nothing.
I wish my teenage friend came to know Light. I wish he knew Christ, the Lord before whom he will soon stand and give account for everything. I don’t think he doubted the emptiness of his fame, so it won’t be a surprise that it won’t count for anything before the King of all.
I pray that Christians reading this will be reminded of the misery of Christlessness and do evangelism, if for nothing else, for compassion.