Earlier this morning I saw a post on social media that exemplified my deep personal convictions about writing. It was a picture of a 4,000-year-old text, a piece of poetry penned by an ancient Sumerian priestess named Enheduanna. It is the first known text attributed to its author. (See the post below.)
Why is this impactful? Because in one picture it proves that the written word is not only powerful, but enduring. Often for many generations. This should be deeply concerning for all authors. Of course, none of us want to write garbage. We want to hone our craft and tell good stories. We write to entertain, while encouraging thoughtful discussion, and hopefully a change in the reader.
As a Christian, this is carries even greater weight for me. I believe that God spoke the universe into being. He used words. He gave us language for a reason. Words are powerful to create, and when used for evil, to destroy. The Gospel of Luke says in chapter 17, verses 1-2,
“And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.”
A different post on social media this week reminded me that “theology matters”. I don’t want to misinterpret the scripture I include in my novels. I don’t want my words to lead anyone into actions or thoughts that would cause them to sin against God. I deeply desire for my writing to point to the redemptive love of Christ and the hope we have in His life, death, and resurrection. All of this because the written word is powerful and endures.
As a reader, this same conviction guides my choice of reading material. I don’t read strictly “Christian” books. I’ve read well written books that might be a stumbling block to some but weren't for me. I’ve stopped reading others because I find the content is fueling thoughts or attitudes that I struggle with.
I have no doubt that I have and will continue to make mistakes. And I pray that I have not violated the warning of Luke. Throughout my creative process, I pray for guidance and words that will honor my deepest convictions and my Lord.
So if you think of me this week, I ask you to pray that this be true of me: That above all else in my writing, as in my life, I want my legacy to be one of eternal blessing.