Romans 12 speaks of living sacrifices and expressing love. So then, as a Christian writer, my writings should reflect the thoughts of this chapter. Being hopeful, patient, caring, thinking of others are all opposites of what we see today; despair, impatience, self-centredness, vengefulness. Now that’s not to say that stories cannot have any of the negative human elements. A story with only a positive side would be a pleasant, light story but it would lack realism. A character or some charters need to show some negative sides of the human nature while other characters need to show the positive side in order to have realism and conflict to hold the readers’ attention. But it is the positive side that should win or make changes for the better. That doesn’t mean that the story necessarily ends totally on a happy note, but a reader should be left with a feeling of hope. Well, that’s how I’d like my stories to run.
The Bible is filled with many stories. Some end sadly; in fact, some are downright cruel and bloody. Stephen’s story is one of brutality and false accusations. He was stoned to death while others stood by watching. (Acts 6: 54-60) Saul was one of the people witnessing the stoning. It is interesting to note that Stephen was accused of “speaking blasphemous words”; the same charge that was laid against Jesus. We are told that Stephen “kneeled down and cried with a loud voice, ‘Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” (Act 7:60) Much the same as Jesus’ last words, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) Stephen demonstrated his faith and upright character through the strength of the Holy Spirit. “Devout men carried Stephen to his burial and made great lamentation over him” (Acts 8:2) while Saul continued “dragging men and women to prison”. (Acts 8:3) Such a tragic story but it doesn’t end completely on a sad note. Acts 8:4 tells us “they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.” (Acts 8:4) Despite the sadness of this story, it ends with a sense of hope; of marching to victory; the work of spreading the Gospel message continued.
When I struggle with story ideas, sermon topics, or even simple greeting card messages prayer always helps. Romans 12:12 reminds us to “be constant in prayer”. Prayer is communication; speaking to God and listening to Him. And so, I pray and wait patiently to hear His gentle voice; to hear the message He wants me to convey. After all, His message is the one worth telling.