Theory Hazit’s “Unforgivable”: Are There Limits to God’s Grace?
Is your mercy and grace running out?
Was it because my lust was unannounced?”
. . .
Somewhere along the way my vision had gotten blurry
I’m guilty been looking for lust through other women
As if we are entering the middle of the story, the DJ scratches us into “Unforgivable” with a sample from Melanie Safka’s “Some Say (I Got Devil)”: “Say I got devil, some say I got an angel / But I’m just too in trouble.” But then enters that incessant violin, never changing behind Theory Hazit’s rhymes and relentlessly marching on, in step with the constant guilt, shame, and lack of forgiveness he feels over his lust and his now broken family.
All my friends were gone. I was alone, stuck in a feedback loop of guilt, shame, anger, and bitterness.The same continuously overbearing weight of guilt I felt. Like Theory I didn’t need my friends, family, or fellow churchmembers to make me feel ashamed of what I had done. I already felt shame so deep that I cried myself to sleep every night. My marriage was done, my toddler daughter was frightened, and I felt so mixed up and confused I didn’t know where I was headed. Looking in the mirror, I asked, “Who even am I?” But one thing was clear: I was the one who royally screwed up and ended an eight-year marriage.
What now? Was this it? Would I continue to live in a state of anathema from God? Can God’s grace cover even this sin, or will I remain forever unforgiven? How do I even ask for forgiveness from God, let alone my soon-to-be ex-wife? Are my prayers unheard? I wanted so much to be forgiven, but I was guilty of destruction. Destruction so great it altered the lives of my daughter, my ex-wife and me, forever.
Ain’t been to church in about a year
All my old friends are outta here”
. . .
You’re wrong if you believing your grieving doesn’t bother me
I deserve your hate mail that you sent on Father’s Day
Calling me deadbeat while rhyming over dead beats
Absent throughout the lyrical sections of the song is the foundation of beat via a drum machine, an essential element of hip hop. Through this musical choice, I believe Theory is communicating that his foundation of faith in the grace of Christ is missing too. This is due, in part, to his falling into sin, but it also derives from the absence of others communicating into his life the grace he once knew.
I found myself in a similar place. All my friends were gone. I was alone, stuck in a feedback loop of guilt, shame, anger, and bitterness. I was helpless. Why would they stay? I thought. I deserve their harsh words. I deserve their hate. I deserve to have them abandon our friendship. To be honest, I wasn’t ready to hear their words. I wasn’t ready to repent. I wasn’t ready to go back to church.
I was scared—scared to face my sin. I wanted to continue to punish myself and bear all the guilt I received from my friends, my family, my ex-wife. Maybe then I could atone for my sin. But for how long and how much did I need to endure before I was forgiven? Months? Years? Decades? I never thought I’d lose sight of God’s grace and turn to self-flagellation through my own thoughts, all in the hopes of rescuing myself. But there I am. I needed to get to church. I needed to be around a community of believers because I was not seeing the gospel of grace and needed it more than ever.
But I look for therapy, your honor
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury your rejection is obvious
Thanks for reassuring me”
. . .
Nobody feels me
Too sick for the healer to heal me
The four walls of the last days are closing in and I’m filthy
In a brief wordless interlude between verses, the drums appear, collapsing in on the listener while functioning as a stabbing amplification of the unceasing rhythms of the violin. This beat is suffocating, and when it disappears at the start of the second verse, no relief is found. Theory’s world is closing in on him, and he is in need of a savior, but he’s being told that his sin is too great to be forgiven. He’s starting to believe that he is too defiled, yet he continues to plead his case for repentance and healing.
For me, it was no longer working to live in the cycle of self-loathing and feelings of unforgiveness. I needed to talk to someone, someone who could point me back to the way of grace and out of the daily crucifying of myself for my sins. Look at Abraham, they told me: he impregnated his servant, and yet God’s grace wasn’t limited. Look at Moses: he killed an Egyptian in cold blood, and yet God’s grace wasn’t limited. Look at Peter: he denied knowing Jesus, and yet God’s grace wasn’t limited. Look at Paul: he was a mass murderer, and yet God’s grace wasn’t limited. Finally, look at David: he not only had an affair but committed murder, and yet God’s grace wasn’t limited. Do you not see it? There is no limit to God’s grace.
What do you say to her? Say it to me. Two words. Two words.
The song ends with a clip of a powerful forgiveness-seeking conversation between Iyanla Vanzant and a man who fathered 28 children with 16 different women, an extreme example of a man mired in lust, guilt, and shame; but even he, by the grace of God, can be forgiven. Repentance starts with two words, and while Theory ends “Unforgivable,” through Iyanla’s words, on “forgive me,” it is only the beginning of a long process of healing.
In my situation, it took a while, but finally I repented.
To my ex-wife, my daughter, and God. And I saw for the first time in my life that no matter how great the depths of my sin, I could not pull myself out. I needed grace. Boatloads. No, oceans of grace. Scratch that. Galaxies worth of grace. And God was there, waiting—waiting to welcome me back home and extend me grace, instead of the punishment I so rightly deserved. We as Christians speak a lot about living under grace. However, I never knew what it meant to live moment by moment, not having a clue where I was heading but trusting that God’s grace will place me wherever he wants me. That realization was both frightening and exhilarating but most of all freeing.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
listen to my plea for grace.
In the day of my trouble I call upon you,
for you answer me. (Psalm 86:5-7)
Yes, my life as I knew it was annihilated forever by my sinful choices, but God’s grace wasn’t limited. He forgave, and his mercy was abundant, never-ending, and continual to this day. I became wholeheartedly a slave to sin, but when I returned home to the Father, I found out I was always a son. A loved one. A forgiven one.