Several years ago, I spoke with an aspiring Christian author who had several good book ideas on a wide range of projects for children to adults but, first, wanted to write about their lifelong struggle with a certain sin issue.
Once it was published, they would move on with their life and be a beacon for biblical truth on all sorts of other projects.
My initial reaction when they explained their plan was that no matter what they did from that point on, they would be known as someone with that “sin issue” and, very likely, never be able to get beyond it.
I suggested they write the memoir they mentioned and put it aside in a folder on their computer. More often than not, writing a difficult personal story is cathartic, as it documents God’s faithfulness through shadowy valleys.
But published for the world to read for the rest of your life? You would never be allowed to close that drawer and lock it away.
We are not talking about how God sees you through his righteousness given to you when you were saved. We are talking about how readers view you.
Books never go away, just like everything else on the internet. And there is a difference between sharing a piece of your life in every book you write and writing a book about your life with all the gory details.
Your first few books establish your brand, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Getting some personal things off your chest might be therapeutic. But unless you want to continue that brand for a very long time, you might want to think more about it before jumping headlong into something that the world will use to define you forever.
Ricardo Sanchez of Times Square Church in New York wisely said, “The Devil knows your name, but calls you by your sin. God knows your sin, but calls you by your name.”
Readers are not the Devil; but mostly, they will call you by your sins. Readers are not dogs or pigs either, but there are some who will tear you to pieces as Jesus says in the first six verses of Matthew 7:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces (NIV).
Any counselor or pastor warns a person with a difficult past to be careful with whom you share your story.
The same works for books, where anything you write can and will be used to define you forever in the world’s eyes.
Thank God we have a heavenly father who doesn’t.