January 5

Wise Up in Willie Nelson’s “In God’s Eyes”

Tell me. Had Willie Nelson ever made a bad song? He may have a peculiar way with words, but his songs are for easy listening. That said, here is one for the road.

“In God’s Eyes” by Willie Nelson

This is the second track from his studio album, Yesterday’s Wine released in 1971.

It’s a concept album featuring life as the “imperfect man” sees and experience it. Peppered with religious themes, it could have gotten more reception from the conservative community.

RCA, Nelson’s label then, had issues in the promotion of his album. They got confused by Nelson’s attempt at integrating his spirituality with his nitty-gritty style. Hence, it failed to appear on charts. The setback took a toll on Nelson to the point that he thought of retiring. Thankfully, he returned the next year and success followed him since.

Years later, he revealed in his autobiography how RCA regarded Yesterday’s Wine as ‘spooky’ and not worth the money to produce. Nevertheless, he had no regrets and even considered it one of his best albums.

Song’s Anatomy

 God’s Eyes reflect the Christian values which Nelson himself taught as a former Sunday School teacher. The first verse is about keeping a clear conscience by refusing to think evil against people. It does not matter that you keep your opinion to yourself. To Nelson’s understanding of God, unspoken ridicule of others is just as bad as verbalizing it.

Second verse speaks of unconditional and indiscriminate acts of kindness. The law of harvest applies here. If you have planted goodness, then you will harvest good things in abundance, too.

Last verse, being the song’s refrain, is the highlight. He used the sheep analogy.

We are no different from them in God’s eyes. We may stray from time to time, but our Shepherd will go looking for us. Once found, there is hope of being welcomed again into the fold.


In God's Eyes, Willie Nelson

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