Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Life Without Strings

There are two types of strings in writing. One ties things together, one scene to the next, a chapter to the one which follows. Those are good strings. Like an underpinning, they keep things from falling apart.

The other type of string pulls things apart. It restricts and binds. These keep me from writing at my best. I have found that the majority of these strings are self-imposed and mostly out of fear of judgment.

I've heard two sermons recently on judgment, and as a writer, I can definitely identify. I've had just about everything said of my writing that's humanly possible. Often, I think a comment can't be topped and then someone somehow does it. Yet writing is an opinionated employment. What one person likes, another can't stand.

I know I dislike Hemingway books. I read a second one of his stories simply to see if it was as bad as the first, and it was. I'm also not going to read fantasy novels. I've tried, but something about the abstract character of them galls me. I want my people to be people, not strange beings, and earth to be earth, gravity to still exist. Even in my two sci-fi-type stories, the basic facts of human existence are still true.

Those are just examples, but applying them to this thought of judgment, you can see they are formed by my own personal opinion, and opinion is selective. However, it's also prohibitive and, often, antagonistic. I perceive what you say about me to be harmful, when it may not have been, and as a result I find myself dwelling on that thought, turning it over and over and over.

Jesus spoke of judgment: Be not judges of others, and you will not be judged. For as you have been judging, so you will be judged, and with your measure will it be measured to you. (Mt 7:1-2 BBE)

This has both a positive and negative side. If I'm not being judgmental, then I will harvest freedom from it. However, if I am being judgmental, then that is what I will receive, and in the quantity that I planted it. Plant two tomato bushes and you will receive two harvests of tomatoes. Plant thirty and you receive that much more.

I wish sometimes I could take people aside who live their lives forcing judgment on others and say, "Look here," but the truth is I can't. I have to, instead, decide how I wish to receive their words. Do I want to take offense? (Mt 13:21) Or should I let my roots go down deep into the soil of God's Word, shake the dust off my feet, and move on? (Mt 10:14)

I admit I'm preaching a bit to myself on this one because the string of judgment has the weight of the greatest boulder sometimes. It wraps around my wrists bringing with it a sea of doubts. What if I overstep the bounds again? What if someone thinks this or that about what I've written?

I can't live there, and neither can you.

Here's my final thought. If we're to guard against how we receive judgment. Maybe we should also guard against giving it. I've met people on both sides of the writing aisle, Christian and non-Christian, and you know what? God loves them both. Yet from a personal experience, sometimes I'd rather hang with the non-Christians simply because they judge me less.

We all long to be accepted, and the church should really be the easiest, lightest place to be. (Mt 11:30) We are told to bear one another's burdens, that this will fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:2) What a powerful word that is!  

Now, ask yourself if you're doing that, if you're using the strings in your hand to bind lives together or if you're using them to pull people apart.

It makes a huge difference to others and ultimately to yourself.

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Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography 
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

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