Do we honor God in how we communicate the messages He gives us? It’s a question that we Christian writers must keep uppermost in our minds at all times.
Here’s an example:
A fairly new believer at our church was talking last night about a book he’s reading and tried to tie it in to the message our pastor was preaching. The pastor’s message had two main points:
1. People who don’t fulfill the plan God has for their lives often miss it because they are resistant to change.
2. People who don’t fulfill the plan God has for their lives often miss it because after they get on the path of that plan, they get weary and give up.
Simple message, with scriptures from Ephesians 4:17-24 (Point #1) and Galatians 6:8-9 (Point #2).
Ephesians 4:22-24 talks about putting off the old self and putting on the new self. I think that’s what triggered the comments from this younger brother in the Lord (not chronologically younger than me, as far as I know, but younger in his relationship with God). The book he mentioned advocates letting go of the false self and embracing the true self, and the terminlogies he was quoting troubled me, so I made a mental note to find out more.
I don’t want to promote the book here, so I’m omitting the title. Suffice it to say that most of my Goodsearch results about this book and its author had similar information:
1. He says he’s a Christian, but
2. He uses terminology and concepts more in line with New Age thinking than with the Bible.
Another thing I noticed is that none of the Christian apologetics sites I use for research came up on the results list, so they have either not heard of the author or haven’t felt a need to write about him. Of course, that simply could be an oversight.
Last, this self-proclaimed Christian is producing work that is being embraced by New Age and Wiccan websites. That’s a major red flag for me. Jesus said that we should expect to be persecuted for being his followers, not accepted.
Our church is reading through the Bible in a year using a plan copied from the back of my pastor’s NASB Bible. This morning’s reading included this passage from the book of Luke, chapter 6:
“20 Looking at his disciples, he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.
24 “But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.“
Notice the two verses I put in red? If everyone is speaking well of us, are we speaking well for Jesus?
Now, I want to be accepted as much as anyone else. A good many of my life’s struggles have concerned feeling rejected and lonely. However, if I want to hear the Lord tell me I’ve been a good and faithful messenger during my time here, I have to let go of that desire to be liked by everyone and instead stand for His Truth.
From what I can tell, the man my friend was quoting isn’t doing that, but is promoting a feel-good philosophy of personal empowerment that works by accessing the “deep, renewable well of higher energy hidden within you.” That’s a direct quote from one of the search results. Does that sound like Christianity or something else?
In my other blog, Circular Praise, I posted a similar version of this, titled Discernment. My aim there was to remind my readers that God tells us to use discernment to weed out the true from the false because the Bible says we will have to deal with false messiahs, prophets, teachers and even believers, and we need to be able to tell what’s real from what isn’t. We prepare ourselves to do that by spending time reading the Bible, talking to God and listening to what He has to say.
As writers, we have a double duty: we need to discern God’s Truth for ourselves, and we need to communicate it clearly with others in a loving way. We honor God when we write truthfully without regard to acclaim, fortune, political correctness or sparing someone’s feelings. Yes, God does tell us to let our gentleness be evident to all, but being gentle while withholding or sugarcoating truth is worse than being harsh but accurate. The best combination is to tell truth gently and lovingly, yet firmly and unflinchingly.
I realize some of the folks following this blog may not share my faith, and if you decide to unfollow me because of this post, so be it. But I have to be true to who – and Whose – I am. I pray God’s light shines on all who read this and that they come to accept His love and enter into relationship with Him.