Welcome to His Encouragement Thursday! I don’t know about you, but Thursdays are my struggle day of the week. By Thursday, I have already been working hard at school and at home, and I just wish it would hurry up and be Friday already. LOL! I definitely need a little extra Jesus time on Thursdays.
Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel: ‘When a man or woman commits any sin that men commit in unfaithfulness against the Lord, and that person is guilty, then he shall confess the sin which he has committed. He shall make restitution for his trespass in full, plus one-fifth of it, and give it to the one he has wronged.'”Numbers 5:5-7 NKJV (emphasis mine)
I am guilty of committing a sin against God, and I need to confess it. Personally, I don’t believe in public confession unless the sin committed is somehow against the public. I believe, in general, that confession is a private matter between God and the sinful individual. I feel this way because of Matthew 6:5 (NKJV): “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.”
OK, yes, Jesus is talking about acts of prayer in Matthew 6:5, but I think on the heart level the sentiment could include confession, too. Everything is a heart issue. Why do we pray? Why do we confess? So that our relationship with God is solid? Or so that humans can see us and think, “Wow! That person is a really good Christian”?
Before I tell you what I did, let me first define “public.” When I say I sinned and I need to confess and make restitution, the “public” I have erred against is my blog readers and followers … and, ultimately, against God.
Now, on to the issue: five years ago, I created this blog with the intention to produce edifying content that glorifies God. I’ve never been a big secular reader to begin with, but I decided that from here on out the books and ideas and such that I fill my mind with and discuss on this blog will be content that elevates God and His good and perfect Name. So, the stories I review and promote on this site are quality pieces from quality Christian and Clean-Read authors who have inspirational/Christian themes. They are quality stories with zero gratuitous, open-door bedroom scenes, and foul language use is minimal to non-existent. Over the past five years, I’ve learned how to tell when a book fits my requirements and when it doesn’t, and I’ve been able to stick to my goal for this blog.
I get asked by all kinds of people to review books: independent authors on Twitter, big-name publishers, big-name Christian publishers, big-name authors, etc. It’s pretty overwhelming, but it’s also flattering. Penguin Publishers is one of the publishing houses that asks me to review for them. I always feel bad, but I turn down their requests to review all the time because I know that the novels they want me to review are not clean-reads. They are secular in every way.
About six months ago, I got really, really tired of Christian and Clean-Read novels. I noticed that I started to roll my eyes more often and beg the books to finish already. They started to feel formulaic and fake. I wanted real. I wanted actual chemistry between characters. I wanted something that would grip me and show me a little more real-life than what I was getting from Christian and Clean-Reads. So I started looking at those Penguin review requests a little more seriously. I didn’t say, “Yes,” but I started to want to. A few weeks ago, a Penguin book was presented to me in a way that looked like it would actually fit my requirements to review. Presented as Women’s Lit with minimal romance, it is the tale of two sisters who haven’t seen each other in 15-years because of a great miscommunication. They are both filled with angst and anger and seriously hurt feelings. I was hooked from the synopsis and excited to share this book with my blog readers. I thought, “Here we go, a novel with no fluff but all substance. Finally, what I’ve been looking for!”
So, I got the book. I made two blog posts about the book (before reading it) — one a Whatchya Readin’ Wednesday post and one a First-Line Friday post. Then I read the actual book. It has some seriously fantastic moments, but, ultimately, this book is super secular and contains very inappropriate sexual moments and language. I came to the conclusion that there is nothing edifying about this book in regards to God, and this is when I realized I had backed myself into a corner and I didn’t know how to get out. I had jumped off the path God has for me and this blog, and I totally sinned against Him. I went looking for something that I thought I wanted rather than stuck to the lane God had me in. I allowed myself to cater to my baser needs and wants.
Numbers 5:5-7 was a passage my pastor brought up in church this past weekend. To say it convicted me would be an understatement. I filled my brain with words and images that detract from God, and my goal was to share that with my very special blog readers. How shameful!
I am very sorry, dear readers, for potentially leading your brains and hearts astray. I hope you can forgive me and will continue to read my posts. And I am very sorry, God, for taking the gift You have given me — my blog, my review abilities — and making it common and unholy. I went off the tracks. I ask for forgiveness, God, and I promise to do all I can to do better from here on out.