Thursday, February 08, 2007

Real Kids - Real Holiness

And whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea. (Mark 9:42)

This verse has been on my mind a lot recently. As an author of books for young people, I am constantly aware of my charge to create stories that uplift and encourage my readers. That's why, when I see forces pulling the opposite direction, that is, toward acceptance of sin, I lament and try to pull even harder toward righteousness.

These thoughts are likely in sharper focus for me now since I have lately participated in a couple of online exchanges with people who say that all kids sin or that it's normal for young people to sin. This was in context with debates about the characters in the Harry Potter books. Some say that the books depict "normal" kids and that all kids are like them--lying, cheating, stealing, etc--even kids who are raised in Christian homes and have professed faith.

Such thinking is a stumbling block for young people. When they are told over and over that sin is normal, that "real" kids are rebellious and mean, that they can never escape committing sin, those who tell them these lies are causing them to stumble. The lie-bearers will answer to God, and according to the verse I quoted, their judgment will be terrible to behold.

The truth is that real kids can be obedient to God in all things and at all times. If they surrender their lives to Jesus Christ, they will have to power to obey and follow God with all their hearts.

Here is the truth:

Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:7-10)

I hope that those who are preaching the opposite will repent before it's too late, and I hope that young people will be able to recognize the deceivers and reject their lies. I will continue to do my part to shine the light of truth, that God cleanses all true believers from all unrighteousness and gives them power to live holy lives. I will continue to write about young people who care about doing what's right and make heroes out of them, giving good kids role models and making them feel "normal" instead of out of touch with what many of J. K. Rowling's supporters falsely call "reality."

6 comments:

James Drury said...

The truth is that real kids can be obedient to God in all things and at all times. If they surrender their lives to Jesus Christ, they will have to power to obey and follow God with all their hearts.

I agree completely with this. I infer from many of your statements on this subject, however, that you are saying that a Christian will never sin. I freely admit that I haven’t read anywhere that you have stated this outright and so if I am incorrect then I most certainly apologize for putting words in your mouth.

I’d say the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to live a sinless life if we submit ourselves completely. The reality is that our desire for personal gratification can get it the way and we choose to sin. It’s not the devil that made us do it. We chose freely.

We can also repent of those sins and submit again to the Spirit. The more often we choose to obey God the easier it gets to flee temptation. Through the renewing of our minds and submitting to God, I do believe we can remain blameless.

I will say most Christians seem to focus on the repentance for sins committed than on avoiding those sins in the first place. A lot of suffering and broken lives would be avoided if we set our sights on living without sin instead of dealing with sin’s consequences.

I absolutely agree with your stand on creating stories with positive characters and kids that obey God. I also think righteousness needs to be “normal” in the church. I’m just not sure of some of the underlying assumptions.

So let me state the question plainly. Do you believe that all Christians will never sin?

Thanks.

Clefspeare said...

Because it would take too long to explain, and the risk of misunderstanding would be too high, the only clarification I'll make publicly on this blog is that I believe exactly what the Scripture I quoted says. (1 John 3:7-10)

That might sound like dodging, but I'm following the method Jesus used, to proclaim the truth using some less-than-detailed statements and explain them more thoroughly in private.

When you wrote the following:
"I’d say the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to live a sinless life if we submit ourselves completely. The reality is that our desire for personal gratification can get it the way and we choose to sin."

Did you mean that all Christians inevitably choose to sin, or do you think there are some Christians who actually do obey completely?

Of course, since I apparently dodged your question, you're under no obligation to answer mine. I ask it, because if no Christian actually does obey completely, then ascribing the power of obedience to them through the Holy Spirit seems to be only a theory that never works out in practice. The passage I quoted seems to indicate the opposite, that complete obedience is essential, expected, and the mark of a Christian.

James Drury said...

I understand, and perhaps here isn't the best place for such a discussion. My intent isn't to argue - I'd like to think I've made that plain in other conversations as well. I am curious, however.

I also think I've already answered your question in the next paragraph down from the one in question. Am I dodging? Perhaps.

I shall not press the issue further. As you say, public statements are open to misinterpretation and I'm afraid my question may have fallen into that catagory. I have stated in other places that I hold your work in high regard and that hasn't changed.

Thanks again!

Clefspeare said...

I appreciate your support very much. You have been a great encouragement to me.

Were you dodging? No more than I was. In fact, my avoidance of direct explanation was intentional, while my lack of understanding of your statement was likely my fault.

Please keep supporting wholesome stories. I need more men like you on my side. :-)

pam halter said...

As the mother of a teenage girl who is just starting to notice boys, I totally appreciate the healthy writing, Bryan. Christians are in the world but not of the world and our kids are no different.

Thanks for giving our kids a good choice over Harry.

Erastes Christianou said...

I may be 25, but, as you have said, I am still one of the "young people" you have reached, and I thank you for the example of godliness and holiness that is portrayed in your books, as well as in your own life.

I'll see you tonight!!!