This Is Why We Write

I made a mistake a few days ago: I watched the news. I seldom do that. Yes, I am informed on events. I have notices come to my phone in bite-sized pieces so I can control the onslaught of evil swarming over us. But on that day, I sat there, watching, weeping, wondering when people gave up being…well, human? When they became animals, given over to the darkest drives within with such abandon that reason and civility seem to be some archaic, forgotten, spit-upon ideals.

What has happened to us?

What made any of us even begin to believe that life—any life—doesn’t matter?

What allowed us ignore the truth that we are all created in God’s image and focus instead on race and creed?

When did we fly the white flag in the battle to protect each other? Even worse, when did we hoist instead the skull and crossbones to declare ourselves the masters of all and anyone who disagrees with us will—no, deserves to die?

When did we as a nation, as a people…as humanity become utterly blind and deaf to God’s truth and laws?

And what grieves me most is that so many who claim the name of Christ are right there, in the thick of it. Not to hold high the banner of Truth or refuse to take on the world’s methods and attitudes. Not to speak the truth in love. Instead, they’re as incensed and vitriolic and hateful as the world ever has been.

Brothers and sisters, the world needs you! They need you to speak truth. We need to write truth. You are the standard bearers, the ones who hold the life preserver for those drowning in the evil. You are watchmen set upon the wall to speak warnings, to call the people back to God. You, I, we all need to hold fast to—and never surrender—the truths God gave us, truths so many seem to have forgotten:

You must not have any other god but Me.

You must not make any idols for yourself. (Not money, race, creed, career, sales numbers, best-sellers lists…NO IDOLS.)

You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. (This is not a small thing. When you use the name of the God of the universe, speak it and write in reverence, in holy fear.)

Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. (Whatever day is Sabbath for you, it’s not just another day of the week.)

Honor your mother and father. (Stop badmouthing the generations that came before you. Respect them. Honor them. They’re not disposable.)

You must not murder. (The world has strayed so far from this command…)

You must not commit adultery.

You must not steal.

You must not testify falsely about others. (Stand up for truth and justice. ENOUGH already with people getting away with things!)

You must not covet anything your neighbor has. (Not his place on the bestseller’s lists, not her popularity, not his platform, not her writing talent or marketing budget or respect or…his or her anything.)

You know, when these commandments were first read, they were followed up with thunder and lightning, with smoke billowing from the mountain, and with the loud blast of a ram’s horn. Their response? They stood at a distance, “trembling with fear.” We need a bit more of that fear, to remind us that when we speak or write God’s truths, we are doing something powerful.

Yes, offer your readers hope. Yes, speak of grace and restoration. Yes, write how God forgives and welcomes us into His kingdom. But don’t soft sell the truth of Who God is. He is Love and He is Truth. He is Forgiveness and He is Righteousness. He is Grace and He is Judgment.

He is God almighty. He has given you a task to take His words to a lost world. That’s why you write. That’s what you write. And that’s what will save us, in these days of darkness and hatred and despair…days when evil only seems to be in control.

May He use you well, friends. And may He have mercy on us all.

 

 

36 Responses to This Is Why We Write

  1. Carol Ashby August 24, 2016 at 5:08 am #

    AMEN, Karen!
    I write Roman Empire, and the direct parallels between Rome and today’s society even in once-Christian America are gut-wrenching. It’s like the clock has turned back 2000 years in our culture’s attitude toward evil. Still, in only 300 years the faithful followers of Jesus transformed a brutal society that had reveled in spectacles of human carnage for hundreds of years and took over an oppressive government that had done its best to stamp out the Christian faith and murder its followers. If we were to live out our faith as boldly as they did, could we reclaim our own society from its death spiral? We’re living again in a time when evil flourishes, and the person who dares to call it evil can expect opposition. Are we willing to become targets for human hostility to keep the faith and to do our best to spread it as well?

  2. Chris storm August 24, 2016 at 5:09 am #

    Love this post! I’ve been feeling this same way recently! And sensing the importance of The Ten Commandments. All the more reason why we need to write impactful books for the world, not just ourselves.

  3. Bob Boeck August 24, 2016 at 5:19 am #

    We have no fear of God today. Every one does what is right in his own eyes. If people realized that “every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” then our country would be better off. Romans 1:32 reflects where we are today; perversion because people give hearty approval to those things that are contrary to the ordinances of God.

  4. Connie Almony August 24, 2016 at 5:34 am #

    Dear Karen, I always love the deep spiritual content of your blogs. This is no different! I grew up in DC area politics. My father wanted to “save the world” using the political process. Watching how that played out I soon realized that one cannot fix the political process if one does not win. And one cannot win if the hearts and minds of the voters have been led astray. It’s why I like to focus on hearts and minds, dealing with the hard issues we face in the Baltimore/Washington area on a daily basis, and not politics.
    I am also grateful that you mentioned the balance of Truth and Grace. I see many writers passing out Grace like candy meant to entice one to church. “Come to church because God forgives you.” He’s so much more than that!!! Yes, Grace is BIG, but it’s not the only wonderful, awe-inspiring characteristic of God. His righteousness is a beautiful thing. Besides, Grace is meaningless and valueless to those who don’t believe in sin. What is the point of Jesus dying so violently if all those things people do are really okay? The world does not understand Grace until it first understands the value of righteousness.

  5. Lisa Evola August 24, 2016 at 5:49 am #

    I am stunned Karen…that was the most right on posting I think I have ever read. It brought tears to my eyes and has renewed a sense of purpose within in me. It is the lost I seek…but as all of the troubles of the world unfold around us, it can be difficult to hold on to the truth of the matter, the Holy fear. Thank you for reignited the flame. May God bless your purpose and that of those who are reading today.

  6. Pam Kumpe August 24, 2016 at 6:06 am #

    A watchman with blonde hair, I am! Thank you for this post. A call to arms for the Lord! Let’s go!

  7. Dan Hoover August 24, 2016 at 6:06 am #

    I am currently on a self-imposed journey into “the wilderness”, as a time of preparation to bring my heart in alignment with Christ. I know what God has called me to do, but I also knew my heart wasn’t in the right place. Speaking the truth is easy, but speaking the truth in love requires dying to self. Your words were both timely, and refreshing.

    I’ve never asked God for a “sign” to know whether or not I was headed down the right path, but if I had, this would be it. You clearly articulated what my heart has been feeling for years.

    Thanks again.

    Dan

  8. Beverly Brooks August 24, 2016 at 6:31 am #

    Absolutely inspired and inspirational. Blessings for reminding us.

  9. Eva Marie Everson August 24, 2016 at 6:45 am #

    #Preach!

    Karen, I’m so moved by this, I’m linking it at the Florida Christian Writers Conference Facebook page. Voices like yours, not only standing for truth, but reminding us why we have to pick up our pens, is why we need you there in February (at the conference, not on the page…).

    Thank you for your words!

  10. Niki Schemanski August 24, 2016 at 7:19 am #

    LOVE this! Thank you for such a truth-saturated, passionate, inspirational post!

  11. Julie Sunne August 24, 2016 at 7:51 am #

    Wow, how many Amens can I add! Powerfully presented and spot on, Karen. The path down the slippery slope of degradation begins with little seemingly innocent concessions we make. Thank you for issuing a call back to truth!

  12. Nancy August 24, 2016 at 7:58 am #

    I write weekly essays for my local newspaper. I l always write with love and compassion, yet I won’t back down from God’s Word when it comes to sin. I have been accused of being a hatemonger, someone who turns people from Christ, which really hurts. One reader called me and told me I hated her son. I wondered how I could hate someone I didn’t know, but learned he died of AIDS. “I wouldn’t have hated your son if I knew him,” I explained. “I would have loved him and mourned for him, but I hate the sin that killed him.”

    By the time our conversation ended, we were friends. How can we agree with sins of which God’s Word disapproves? I have to remember that John the Baptist was beheaded for truth. Steven was stoned for truth. Jeremiah was imprisoned and mistreated for truth. We either deny God’s Word and have the world love us or stand for truth and have the world hate us. The world hated Jesus. They killed Him because He stood for truth.

    Yes, there is such a thing as tolerance and compassion, individuality and varying beliefs, but when those things go against the One who created us, the Son who gave His life for us, I’ll stand for truth and take the consequences. I don’t want the blood of the lost on my hands. Love doesn’t agree with everything in order to not offend. Love offends in order to transform lives. God’s Word offends because He, the All-wise, loves with the purest love and knows the consequences of actions He opposes.

  13. Wendy L Macdonald August 24, 2016 at 8:13 am #

    Wow, Karen, you need to add “preacher” to your resume. Your words go perfectly with the verse that popped out of my morning read today: (She) is like a (woman) building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. Luke 6:48 NIV
    On the Rock blessings ~ Wendy

  14. Bonnie Lacy August 24, 2016 at 8:14 am #

    Well said, Karen. I have deactivated my FB account to create a buffer. I, too, check the “bite-sized” news but that’s it. Well said!

  15. Dianne E. Butts August 24, 2016 at 8:25 am #

    Amen.

  16. Janet Ann Collins August 24, 2016 at 8:31 am #

    I listen to the news every day even though a lot of it is horrible. And I read (and write for) our local newspaper, which always includes a lot of good news and tries to cover both sides of political things. We live in a fallen world, but if we don’t know what other people are dealing with, how can we communicate our faith in a way that will reach them? Yes, it’s scary and discouraging to know how bad things are in the world, but God is much, much bigger than all that.

  17. Linda August 24, 2016 at 8:49 am #

    Such a powerful message in your words today. As a Christian, the challenge becomes being that person who is willing and clean and ready to be used in a way that God can get His message out to this awful cesspool the world has become. We have watered down messages sometimes, because we are listening to watered down Christianity. I have a feeling the strongest messages are going to come from the most unlikely people – those the world views as helpless or useless. Just as Jesus did while here on earth, when he pointed out the truth to the religious of that day, we need to stand firmly and in love for truth. It wasn’t popular then and it won’t be today either. But “Be strong and of good courage…”
    Thank you for being strong today, Karen.

  18. Tisha Martin August 24, 2016 at 9:16 am #

    Karen,

    And I thought I was the only one who had these thoughts. 🙂 It’s encouraging to see agents talking about such hard world (but totally heart) issues — and so boldly. 🙂 Love it. The Lord never promised that it would be easy, but that He would go before us as we proclaim the Gospel to people around us.

  19. Cindy Fowell August 24, 2016 at 9:29 am #

    Karen, Your application of the Ten Commandments to today’s world and my life is thought provoking. Thank you! Is it okay for my to apply this to the adult class (1 & 2 Peter) I’ll soon be teaching in our church? For sure I will use these words of guidance as I write and watch the news.

  20. Norma Brumbaugh August 24, 2016 at 9:33 am #

    I quite agree. There is very little love in the world today even though love is often talked about and emphasized. Real love would not approve of any of the hateful acts against humankind or unkind speech. We must speak up. But finding the way to do it in a way that people will receive it is quite the the challenge. People won’t listen to our voices if we speak with condemnation or arrogance. I believe we have to come in the back door like a friend does when they are concerned about us, and speak in a language that says, I understand and I care, but here’s something to think about.

    We struggle with these things because we don’t want to offend. I will share my story.

    A week ago I decided to step up to the plate and offer a piece about abortion. I’d always been hesitant (fearful) of speaking out about this subject because of the haters and its protected status. But God prepared me for it. He reminded me of the connection between a bully and their victim, the disparity in power. You may find it interesting because it goes along with your purpose in writing this article. I hope you don’t mind if I share it here. Christian writers have to make good arguments that speak for themselves. This was my attempt to do so. http://www.nlbrumbaugh.com/to-save-a-life/
    (This week I took on the subject of premarital sex and substance use, straight talk to millennials.)

    Thank you, Karen. God is not mocked. Your statements are a call to holiness.

  21. Rebecca LuElla Miller August 24, 2016 at 9:51 am #

    Great post, Karen. I think there’s all kinds of needs that writing can address. I think Christians can create a hunger and thirst for righteousness without writing an overtly Christian story. And yet, what the world needs is Christ!

    It seems to me, more of us are willing to till the soil–a much needed part of the process–and to prune the hedges. But the planting and watering and weeding and fertilizing might need more hands. May more of us write boldly about Christ, and Him crucified to save sinful human beings. And may we do so with power and creativity. With attention to good writing and good storytelling.

    Becky

  22. Brad August 24, 2016 at 9:58 am #

    Karen,

    I too have wondered where we lost it as a culture. I was a child when you could play in empty lots and trust the local policeman. How did my beloved country lose it? How did it happen?

    It’s painfully obvious America has “sown the wind” and is now reaping the whirlwind. This slide into Sodom seemed to have taken early form in the 1960’s, overthrowing traditions and values in the social and sexual revolution. Humanists declared human nature ‘basically good’, media glorified the anti-hero, and shows like “Laugh In” mocked moral values. But enough Biblical taboos still existed to curb the worst of human behaviors, so society didn’t worry.

    The public educational system was slowly co-opted — God out, humanism in. Society welcomed moral relativism and lifeboat ethics, dismissing as kooks, those who warned where such a path might lead. Now, at 50 million plus abortions, marriage redefined, legalized drugs, pornography and mob violence in the streets, we can take a guess regarding that finish line.

    Unfortunately, many churches joined this Zeitgeist (spirit of the age,) de-emphasizing sin, social stigmas and God’s law, labeling it “hell fire and brimstone.” Who could fault grace, liberty & antinomianism, which took its place? But with the commandments removed, we didn’t find freedom and love. We found the hellish “Id” of every black sinner being slowly unleashed. But the experts assured us that this was only due to ‘poor social environments.’

    Like the proverbial frog being boiled in the pan, our adversary turned up the heat slowly, no one change being enough to alert the faithful. Once a story that captured a nation for weeks when 7 gangsters were shot up in Chicago on Valentine’s day, would be lucky today to make page 2, wedged between the ISIS attacks, the race riots, and some government agency involved in scandal.

    C.S. Lewis put it succinctly, “We mock honor, then are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate, then bid the gelding to be fruitful.” Like you, I weep for this now stumbling country that was once a ‘City on a Hill.’ And if God doesn’t grant America a reprieve it so richly doesn’t deserve, all that might be left for the faithful is Lot’s response — flee the coming wrath.

    • Brad August 24, 2016 at 10:03 am #

      Clarification: Read black-hearted sinner. No racial intent is meant, as “all have sinned…”

  23. Christine L. Henderson August 24, 2016 at 11:27 am #

    Definitely agree with your comments. At my writers conference earlier this month, those thoughts were also noted by all our speakers. We need to speak the truth to a lost world while there is still time.

  24. Lois Hudson August 24, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    Beautifully written truth, Karen.
    Spoken from the heart of many of us.
    Thank you.

  25. Sheri Dean Parmelee August 24, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

    Awesome posting, Karen. I am wordless.

  26. Tonia Woolever August 24, 2016 at 3:23 pm #

    I too have grieved at how much Christians have compromised and capitulated to the world’s values, then wonder, “Why did God let this happen?” They still do not see the reciprocal nature of their relationship to the Lord.
    Thanks for this powerful encouragement.

  27. Rebekah Love Dorris August 25, 2016 at 6:41 am #

    Thank you for this post. It hit me hard yesterday, and I put off commenting because I didn’t think I could thank you for it sufficiently. Now I know I just need to say it: thanks. God bless 🙂

  28. Lois Keffer August 25, 2016 at 2:31 pm #

    Beautifully put, sister, and timely to boot. (Do you remember the few months we worked together at Mulnomah? I took over Gold ‘n’ Honey after Melody left. I’d so love to reconnect!)
    Thank you for your prophetic words, girl. They struck a chord. When I saw the brotherly love at the Olympics I wondered, “How do we keep this going?”
    Let mercy lead.

  29. Katherine Hutchinson - Hayes August 25, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

    Dear Karen,

    I haven’t been this moved by a piece of writing in a long time. Thank you for taking the time to spill a few drops of your bare soul in this space.

    You’ve reminded of my purpose and that is no easy feat. I appreciate the caffeine in your words appealing to the heart of every believer with a pulse.

    Thank you for your wisdom, bravery and ability to ignite the fire of conscience .

    Blessings

  30. deb palmer August 26, 2016 at 9:47 am #

    Karen
    Super post. My passion is to show God’s true heart for his people. I hate how the media portrays Jesus and his followers. I love sharing the grace and mercy he has shown myself and others.
    Thanks to you,
    deb

  31. Andrea Jones August 29, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

    Amen Sista!

  32. Lon Allison August 30, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

    Wow- Thanks for the clarion call. Your words sting with Kingdom vision. I’m grateful

  33. Lorraine Walker August 30, 2016 at 9:59 pm #

    Thanks, Karen, for being His voice and reminding us of the great call!

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