I’m going to write on a touchy subject and I’m sure some, even Christians, will disagree with me, so I’m going to start by saying this is my opinion and whatever you decide is going to have to be between you and God.
I’m not going to mention any book series by name but I’m sure those who know me or follow my blog will know which series’ I’m discussing in writing this today. I was recently encouraged by a 12 year old to read a certain series’ she told me that her and her mom are reading and they are so good. Well since she goes to Awana I thought, what could hurt? So I asked her more about this series – when she told me about it, I was appalled. Killing, the endorsement of killing and the allusion to eating other humans? Really? This is what passes for ‘good’ literature these days? My 10 year sat quietly nearby (she had heard of this series already, but thankfully has a spirit of discernment and knew she wouldn’t read them) just watching. When the other girl left the room my daughter looked at me and said those books are terrible mom, there is no way I’d read them. Praise the Lord!
Some would say that we aren’t supposed to protect our children from everything in the world or that we should let them read things that are from Satan or that are un-Godly so that we can teach them discernment. This to me, sounds like a cop out so that you can assuage yourself that it’s okay to read these things. Discernment is a gift from the Holy Spirit and while we can teach it to our children, I don’t think we need to teach it to them by exposing them to material that would allow Satan any kind of entrance to their lives.
As I think about what, we, as Christians should be taking in – whether it’s books, T.V. show, movies, music, etc I think back to Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise think on these things.”
or what about Romans 12:9?
“Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”
or how about Galatians 5:20-25
” Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
How do certain books stack up against God’s Word? That is what we should be most concerned about – what God says. If we aren’t supposed to be partaking in the things that God would see as evil, why would we want any part of it? I have to say when I see people reading certain books I do question how strong they are in their walk – if I know they are identifying themselves as Christian.
Would you doubt my walk if I was reading a book about Wicca, even if I claimed it was only for research? I would hope so – why would I need to read something to be able to discern that it’s bad and goes against God’s Word? Can’t I just take His Word for it? He is God, He Created the world, He sent His Son – who died for us – that doesn’t mean we can run rampant and do what we want and then think “well the Bible doesn’t say I shouldn’t read it, so it must be okay.” or “I’ll just repent later.” If you repent of these things then you shouldn’t go back to it – just because the Bible is silent on the issue of abortion doesn’t mean that it’s okay – it falls under murder.
Reading books or other forms of entertainment that put ideas in our minds (and eventually will come out in our lives) should not be a part of a Christian’s life. I’m not saying you’re going to go to Hell or anything like that, I’m simply encouraging you, if you’re a Christian and currently reading books that have themes of murder, occultism, etc to look at them in light of Scripture and then pray over it. We should strive for Matthew 5:48 which says “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.”
If you’d run into Jesus on the street today would He be pleased to see one of His children reading, watching or listening to these popular things in the guise of learning to discern?
Now, so that my readers don’t think I’m ganging up on them – recently I’ve come under conviction of the Holy Spirit – because of the books I read. As a book reviewer this is hard. As a fan of Christian fiction, this is hard. Is it any harder though than what Christ went through on the Cross? My flesh says yes, but in reality giving up certain book genre’s for my Lord will have it’s own blessings. I’ve decided that once I fulfill my obligations for the Christian fiction I already have, I won’t be requesting anymore. Especially in regards to romance.
Things that bring discontentment in our lives – like when I read about the perfect man and perfect woman having the perfect marriage and he does everything perfect, tends to give me discontentment towards my own husband. Is this something that I need? No. Something I should want? No. I can’t say I won’t fail and won’t request a book – but as such I’m going to be much more discerning in what I review from now on – I’m going to seek the Lord and see if He would want me to read this Amish fiction book or if He’d rather me read the Christian suspense book or choose none. I’m going to let Him lead me in the direction He’d take me in regards of what goes into my mind.
ETA: A friend on Facebook also pointed out this Scripture which is also fantastic for thinking about what we allow into our lives:
Psalm 101:3 “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”