faith, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days of Forgiveness in June: Show Mercy

“Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?”

(Matthew 18:33, NIV)

Chris was a wealthy man who owned a lot of real estate. He was a shrewd business owner, but he was also known to be a generous giver in his community.

On one cold January morning, Chris met with his financial manager. They talked for a while, then began to review his accounts. Chris quickly discovered that there was one account where he was owed a huge sum of money.

“Why haven’t you collected this amount yet?” Chris asked.

His manager pointed to a note in the file. “When I called this man, he told me his young daughter had just been diagnosed with a severe muscle disease. I know you’ve always been kind to those less fortunate, so I told him you’d review the account in a few months and you’d make a decision then.”

So, Chris had his financial manager arrange a meeting time for later that week. When Chris met the man, he brought up the account. 

The man began crying. He begged for more time. “Two weeks after my daughter’s diagnosis, I lost my job. My wife and I took our savings and used it to fund a few months of her treatment.”

Chris forgave the debt and agreed to allow the man and his family to live in the property for an additional six months rent-free. 

But a few weeks later, Chris heard the man was suing another person in small claims court over a few dollars. 

“How could you do this?” he asked his tenant. “Shouldn’t you have had mercy when you’ve been granted so much?”

God, help me when I’m tempted to deny mercy. Let me remember all of the times You’ve shown me grace and offer that same kindness to my fellow human beings. In the name of Jesus the Messiah, I pray. Amen.

If you liked this story, you might also like the sweet second chance romance novella Believe in Me, by Mishael Austin Witty. Available now on Kindle for only 99 cents!

Writing

Is It Okay for Christians to Write Fiction?

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Aren’t You a Christian? How Can You Write Fiction? Fiction is Lying.

Several years ago, I started getting serious about my writing. I wrote several stories and a few novels that I self-published. And when I started telling people about what I was doing and what I’d done, some would ask me, “Aren’t you a Christian? How can you write fiction? Fiction is lying.”

Even my husband started echoing these words.

These words hurt, but they also got me thinking… so I quit writing fiction and tried my hand at nonfiction, which wasn’t nearly as fun for me.

And, after awhile, I quit writing altogether.

What About Parables?

But a year after I quit writing, I lost my daycare job and suddenly had a lot more time on my hands. And, on the recommendation of a friend, I read THE STORY OF WITH by Allen Arnold, which is both fiction and nonfiction and is beautifully written – in the style of a parable, with the nonfiction interpretation following the fictional story.

That got me thinking about who else used to tell stories in this same way. Can anyone guess who I’m thinking of? Anyone?

Why, none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself!

It struck me that, if Jesus used fictional stories to point people to God, it couldn’t be wrong for ME to do so. No one would accuse Jesus of lying, would they? And yet people (especially Christians) are so quick to call fiction writing “lying” and fiction writers “liars.” My pastor and Sunday School director even admit to not reading fiction because they don’t find it “edifying.”

Is It Edifying?

Why would Jesus use fiction in His teaching if it wasn’t edifying?

Now, certainly, there are plenty of fiction books out there that are not edifying. But I would argue that there are plenty of nonfiction books out there that share the same failing. The fault is not in the form of the writing so much as it is in the writer and the purpose of the story.

I think we, as Christians, can get so lost in our preconceived notions and so hung up on things that don’t matter that we miss out on the big picture – the important messages God has to share about who He is and what He wants us to know (some of which Jesus shared using fiction).

If the Savior of the World and God Incarnate can use fiction to reach people, I certainly think I can too. Not only am I certain I’ve been called to be a writer, but I’m certain I’m supposed to be a fiction writer – but one who writes Truth into fiction.

So, that’s what I’ve determined to do with my writing. I pray every day and ask the Lord, “What’s next? What do You want me to write today? What message do You have for me, and what do You want me to share with others? Guide my words, Lord. Let them be used to touch people and lead them to You.”

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We’re the Ones Who SHOULD Be Writing Fiction

Those of us who belong to Him know both the darkness and the light. We know both the lies and the truth. And I think our deeper understanding of these things can enhance our fiction writing in ways in which other writers’ words never will be enhanced. We CAN edify with our fiction if we stay tuned in to the Author, Creator, and Source of everything true.

Keep reading the Word. Keep praying, and keep writing whatever He tells you to write. I know that’s what I’m going to be doing from now on.