Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lawful or Edifying?

Guest post by Rebekah A. Morris

Not long ago I was challenged by 1 Corinthians 10:23 “All things are lawful but all things edify not.” The more I pondered this verse, the more it felt as though the apostle Paul was writing this for the homeschooled authors. This passage is talking to Christians about encouraging and building each other up. It’s all a part of the love mentioned in 1 Cor. 13. If we don’t have the love that edifies and encourages, we are nothing.

But, I wondered, how did this apply to authors?

As writers we have great freedom. We can live in imaginary worlds, converse with characters we created and do things that we can’t do in real life. But with this freedom comes a great responsibility. If our writings are only for our selves and no one reads them, then what we write is between us and our Lord. But, if we take those stories and release them to the world, to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, suddenly the stories become more important.

Are we portraying things that build up and encourage or that tear down and destroy? Do our stories edify our readers or do they cause them to stumble in their Christian walk? Are we filling their minds with things that are pure, right and lovely or dark, ugly, and evil?  Do we share just a little of the sensual so the reader knows what’s going on? (Please don’t!) Would we feel right about letting Jesus Christ read our stories aloud to our siblings, nieces, nephews or friends?

All things are lawful.

We can write about the evils of sin, the depravity of man, the sadness of a life without Christ.

But all things edify not.

Do we write them in a way that leaves a reader “feeling dirty” because of the choice of words, the descriptions, sounds, or details we include, or do we leave them with a sense that there is sin, but simply say so and leave it? It’s there, but you don’t know all the gory details. Think about the way the Bible talks about sin. When the man’s concubine was raped and killed, he cut her up and sent her body to all the tribes. But we are spared the details of both the rape and the rest. (Thankfully!)

It is lawful to write any way you want to, but if you are causing a brother or sister to stumble in their walk because of your writings, maybe you should consider if that phrase, that sentence, that description is going to edify.

Let us, as authors, strive to show true love to our readers by writing what edifies and not just what is lawful. Let us build up and not tear down. Let us encourage and not just entertain.

Rebekah A. Morris has lived her entire life (as of now) in Missouri. Being home educated during her school years was great, except for writing. That was the worst subject (along with math) that she had to do. It wasn't until after she graduated that she discovered the joys and wonder of writing. Now she can't write enough. After spending six years in research and writing, she completed her first book, "Home Fires of the Great War," a 500+ page, historical fiction about home life in the United States and Canada during the First World War. Since then, she has been an avid writer and always has more than one story going on at once because only one story at a time got tiring and dull.


  1. Great post! Someone told me once (an atheist) that the Bible is so 'dirty' that we Christians are just ridiculous not wanting to read books or watch movies that have bad content. :O It was hard for me to explain this ... so it's nice to see my thoughts in print. I never can get the right words out at the right time!

    1. It can be hard to explain to others what we are believe about right and wrong content. I hoped this helped a little.

  2. I really appreciate the last two sentences. Christian authors should write for a much higher purpose than the world does. We shouldn't try to make our writing like theirs.

    "Let us build up and not tear down. Let us encourage and not just entertain."

    1. Thank you, Lauren. It's so easy to get caught up in trying to please the world that we can forget we shouldn't be writing for them anyway. At least not the style and kind of stories they usually want.


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