Amid the re-release of his hit 1998 song “Lean on Me,” gospel singer and winner of 16 Grammy awards Kirk Franklin said that it is a “misconception” to believe that God exists for the sole purpose of trying to make humans happy.
The 51-year-old Franklin recently spoke with The Christian Post about the re-release of “Lean on Me” with Compassion International featuring the voices of youth living in poverty around the world.
Franklin said that while some humans depend on God for finding joy, “being broken is not a bad thing [because] even in the darkest times, God, in His sovereignty, can be doing His greatest Work.”
“We have this misconception that God is trying to make us happy,” he said. “God is not trying to make us happy. God is trying to make us His. And so whatever process comes from that. Once again, I know that sounds foolish to the world. It sounds foolish to humanism. And our natural intelligence doesn’t have the capacity to access and program the spiritual. And again, things of the spiritual a lot of times have been abused and manipulated.”
Throughout the Bible, Franklin said that many men and women of faith experienced a process of God breaking them before He used them.
“Breaking is not all bad,” Franklin explained. “I know that it may seem kind of intuitive to Western culture because, in America, we pride ourselves on being strong and not easily broken. But gold doesn’t become pure until it’s taken through the fire.”
If someone is going through a difficult circumstance or season in life, Franklin said they should have a conversation with God.
“Ask God, ‘What are you doing with this?’ ‘Are you using this?’ Because sometimes, you’re in a situation that doesn’t seem to be getting better. Maybe it’s because God may not want it to get better,” Franklin rationalized.
The artist said people should do more than talk about Jesus but live out their conversations to reach a hurting world.
“I think that it is a tragedy for us to have this much Jesus conversation in the world, but there is not enough of the residue of the conversation in tangible ways in the lives of people,” Franklin reasoned. “All of the wealth in the world and the level of poverty and corruption … the people continue to hurt. And so if you have any indication, any inclination to being able to have a monotheistic mindset, there’s no way that you can see people hurt and think that God is smiling upon what we do.”
The world should be more humble to embrace others for the hardships they face in more ways, he said, and begin to care more about the needs of others.
“From being marginalized to being in positions of poverty, to issues of race, to issues of sexism, issues of agism, whatever ‘ism’ is happening at the moment, we have to understand there is a humility that is missing,” Franklin warned. “We need to have the intentional pursuit of being about the benefits of other people. I should be as concerned about my needs and even more about yours.”
Franklin, known for his gospel-centered music, released a new rendition of “Lean on Me” on Sept. 24. The re-release is called the “Worldwide Mix” and features The Compassion Youth Choir, a group made in partnership with Franklin of 120 different musicians who starred in the video.
The original version of “Lean on Me” was a song on Franklin’s 1998 album “The Nu Nation Project,” which remained on top of the Billboard Contemporary Christian Albums chart for 23 weeks and the Billboard Gospel Albums chart for 49 weeks.
The new version of “Lean on me” has over 121,000 views on YouTube as of Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a great honor to work with Compassion and to be part of their global reach, especially during this climate, during this time,” Franklin told CP. “It is really overwhelming to be able to pull out a song that’s over two decades [old] and see it be able to have an impact and to be able to remind each other of the bigger message, that we’re the hands and feet of God, and in very tangible ways.”
The new rendition, Franklin said, aims to spread the message of people being there for one another, “as brothers and sisters,” by showing compassion, empathy and love during difficult times in the world.
“I’m very grateful to have an opportunity to just speak to the realities … of real-time situations that are affecting and impacting people today,” Franklin concluded.