I Do What I Want

The Southern California band Thrice took a hiatus back in 2012, but they are back in black [honey] now with the album TO BE EVERYWHERE IS TO BE NOWHERE. 

It’s been over ten years since I’ve watched them live, and their recent performance in San Diego at the House of Blues was phenomenal. One of my favorite songs from the album is called “Black Honey,” and it is stellar IMHO! Here’s why. 

The band’s lead singer and songwriter, Dustin Kensrue, describes the song as

spawned from an image that popped into my head: someone continually swatting at a swarm of bees to get their honey, but somehow not understanding why they would sting back in return.

Dustin has never shied away from offering cultural commentary (U.S. Foreign Policy has been a recurring topic, as well as racism and fear in our country), and he’s never refrained from writing about darkness, sin, grace, or beauty.

In the latest music video for Black Honey, he does just that. Many have labeled it “strange,” “eerie,” and “weird,” and I’m pretty sure that was my initial reaction too after watching the video for the first time. But after a second look, there’s good reason for you to love this song.

I was a boy once, and I remember plenty of long car rides with different people throughout my life. Sometimes they were good, and other times they were not so great. The music video points out all of the various influences that each of us have in our lives. Some influences are positive, and others are negative—like the father in the video who is essentially screaming at his son. It’s sad, really.

Over the years, I've seen friends experience a tremendous amount of brokenness due to tough times with their parents. The critical spirit of a grandfather or grandmother can trickle down to his or her children and grandchildren. 

As fathers and mothers, we may see destructive patterns in our behavior toward our children that reflect how we were treated by our own parents in our youth. 

But cue the lyrics:

I keep swingin’ my hand through a swarm of bees ‘cause I I want honey on my table

We live in a world where everyone is trying to get what they want. Money, power, sex, love, praise, followers. And yet, many people don’t even realize the consequences that such a mentality may bring. Why are the bees stinging me? I just want my honey! Why is this happening to me?

This song is so important for us to understand because it’s reminding us that sometimes we are the cause of our own problems. Sometimes it’s not the bee. Sometimes it’s me. When we live in a way that only looks out for ourselves, we unknowingly bring much harm to others.

Cue the song again.

But I’ll do what I want I’ll do what I please I’ll do it again till I’ve got what I need I’ll rip and smash through the hornet’s nest Don’t they understand I deserve the best

We’ll destroy the nest to get our honey, but look at all the damage that is done. The bees have no home. This is figurative, of course. Most people aren’t so dumb and won’t deliberately awaken a whole hive of bees to get some honey. We can go to Albertsons or Vons or Whole Foods for that.

Cue the song one last time.

Then I See them coming after me And they're following me across the sea And now they're stinging my friends and my family And I Don't know why this is happening

But the song drives at this sinful mentality that all of us have: we want to do what we want. We want what we want when we want it, with whomever we want it, and for whatever reason we want it. 

There are as the song points out, however, dire consequences for such attitudes and actions. The bees come with a vengeance. We will have to deal with that angry swarm of bees at some point, if not in this life then in the life to come.

Thankfully, God doesn’t always let us have what we want. God in Jesus Christ has given us the person we need most to save us from ourselves. God in Jesus Christ is giving us access to the place that we truly want most—a land full of “milk and honey” (Exod. 33:3)—heaven itself. 

Photo of Nicholas Davis

Nicholas Davis

Nicholas Davis is lead pastor of Redemption Church (PCA) in San Diego, California. Nick has worked for White Horse Inn for several years, has contributed to Modern Reformation and other places, and is a writer for Core Christianity. Nick and his wife, Gina, have three sons. He blogs at nicholasmartindavis.com. Connect with Nicholas on Twitter @MundaneMinister.

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