Being a writer who is a Christian doesn’t just mean standing up for your beliefs. It means saying sorry when something you’ve written has hurt someone.
One week following that post, I spent a morning making public and private apologies to those who’d been hurt by the Servanthood post, because one person’s story can be another person’s stumbling block. And no matter how convicted you may feel, without love, you are but a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
I didn’t apologize for the message of the post. I still stand by my theology. I still believe in submission.
I apologized, though, for the ill-placed anecdote which I used, about my Lebanese friend who had stayed in her abusive relationship, and how her husband had become a believer as a result, and in spite of the article being read by a dozen editors, no one caught the trigger that would cause a number of readers to suffer PTSD.
I have never been so remorseful.
Having never been abused (save for neglect as a child), I wasn’t aware of the trigger, nor of the implication it would make to stay in abusive relationships for the purpose of saving one’s husband (I by no means support that theory; spiritual submission by the wife MUST be paired with spiritual responsibility by the husband.)
But these stumbling blocks are things that we as writers–as Christ-believing writers–need to be conscious of. No matter how true our message, no matter how passionate our hearts, love needs to prevail. And this means apologizing when we’re wrong.
In the end, it’s about living mercifully while inspiring righteousness.
Jesus did not throw stones. But. He also told the woman to “go and sin no more.”
We serve a merciful savior who longs for us to be holy. So there is the fine balance.
I discovered this quote the other day through a fellow blogger: I don’t think that God always tells the person with OCD that he doesn’t need to wash his hands five times. I think He makes sure he always has soap. ~ Serena Woods, Grace is for Sinners
Our Abba Father always makes sure we have soap.
But in the meantime, he longs for us to not need that soap anymore.
He is patient, and while we need to stand up for our convictions, we also need to make sure that we’re not blocking the light for anyone. That in standing, we’re offering our hands to those around us and helping them to stand too.
Our stories should not be pedestals. They should not be podiums. They should be parables–carefully worded attempts to illustrate truths of the kingdom, on behalf of a world that longs to find Jesus and to find him, fully.
(Today, I am happy to announce that Jen Hatmaker is giving away a copy of her book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, which we reviewed last week here. Leave me a comment below, and we’ll choose a winner by the end of the week.)
every thursday, we gather together to celebrate redemption. here are the details:
1. link up a post (old or new) that relates to redemption.
2. put the ‘imperfect prose’ button at the bottom of your post, so others can find their way back here (see button code in right-hand column of my blog)
3. read other’s prose, and encourage them!
so won’t you join us, as we “walk each other home”? (ram dass)