As Christians we have a responsibility to write in a way that does not lead our readers toward sin. It is our responsibility to keep our work clean and not write in a way that would dishonor God.
As writers, we want to create high quality work with a realism that plunges our readers headfirst into our stories, but there is a line there that we, as Christian writers, should not cross. The line pops up when we find ourselves dealing with difficult real-world issues and non-Christian characters.
Real people, unfortunately, use foul language and when we attempt to portray characters such as this, we may be tempted to add in a couple swear words for the sake of realism. But in such cases, it’s better to just state the fact that a swear word’s been said rather than actually using the word in dialogue.
Sometimes we may find ourselves dealing with difficult issues such as sexual assault, etc… Here, a certain amount of description may be necessary for the sake of the story, but not so much that it crosses the line. We need to make sure when dealing with things like this in our writing, that we don’t induce inappropriate or sinful thoughts in our readers.
This is sort of the same idea as a woman who dresses indecently. If she’s not wearing enough clothes, then it can cause men to lust after her. In the same way, we need to make sure that our portrayals of real world issues remain, metaphorically speaking, appropriately dressed.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t deal with these issues in our writing. It doesn’t mean that we should shy away from them, but we need to be careful to do it the right way.
If you’re having trouble figuring out how much is too much, pray about it, ask God for wisdom. You can also search the scriptures for guidance and have some good Christian friends read through what you’ve written and see what their thoughts are on it.
Writing Christian fiction that deals with real world issues can be a balancing act. We can find ourselves walking the line between the boardwalk of unrealistic, nondescript writing and the murky waters of going too far. But with the guidance of God and fellow Christians we can better walk the line without falling overboard.
“Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but only what is good for building others up as the need may be, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29 WEB
4 thoughts on “Walking the Line in Christian Fiction”
This is a real issue that Christian writers must deal with, just like the novelist in Charles Sheldon’s “In His Steps.” That particular character made the wrong choice, but I always appreciate authors who uphold their integrity while writing.
Thanks for a great post!
LikeLiked by 1 person
You’re welcome. 🙂
I think it’s important for Christian writers to stay true to their faith in their writing. That doesn’t mean everything they write has to be Christian, but it means that nothing they write should be anti-Christian. Not only does it offend other Christians and potentially lead them astray, but it sends out a distorted image of Christianity to non-believers. As Christians, we’re representatives of Christ here on earth and if our words and actions don’t match up with that, then we can ruin our witness and turn off non-believers to Christianity.
““You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, with what will it be salted? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men. You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can’t be hidden. Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house. Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16
Thank you for an awesome reminder, Whitney! It IS so important that we keep our lights pure and bright, not hiding them or dimming them so that we can fit into the world and sell more books or have more friends or have an easier life.
Awesome post, Whitney.
LikeLiked by 1 person