Be the One Who Brings Life from Death
Inspired by an extraordinary podcast I listened to this morning (there is a link to it provided below), I decided to FINALLY publish this blog post I'd written many months ago when my heart was heavy after reading a bad review of one of my novels. The review did not pan my writing style. Instead, the reviewer chose not to understand the inner workings of the character who was in desperate need of faithful enlightenment.
I write to help people understand these worldviews (of those who've never known Bible-believing Christians--EVER!) so they can better do the work of The Savior. So, though I can handle the usual criticisms of my books, this one, I needed to address. Here is what I wrote ...
A while back, one of my novels, An Insignificant Life, received a one-star review. Though my books average about 4.5 stars, I do get the occasional one or two star reviews, sometimes because the reviewer didn’t like the number of commas I used, or they just don’t like my style. Maybe I'm too "religious" for them. As an author, I’m told to schluff them off, so I do.
This one was different.
The reviewer, after admitting to having not read beyond the first scene and stating wanting to give it negative stars, called the story “a stretch” with regard to being Christian Fiction because the main character, Tiffany, used the words, “fetal tissue” and “blob of flesh” in her thoughts surrounding the baby growing inside her. These words were from a desperate woman trying to talk herself into doing something her spirit told her was wrong. The reviewer stopped reading because he/she could not bear the ugliness of this reality.
Therefore, I felt the need to respond for two reasons:
1) Maybe the reviewer didn’t know where I was going with the story,
2) The reviewer is uncomfortable around those who have no contact with Christians and therefore, have a skewed vision of God’s plan for us.
So let me speak to these points.
As to the first point, had the reader continued through just one more scene, he/she might have had a glimpse of the other side. Only a few more words would have shown the reader the answer to the despair felt in the first scene of a woman talking herself into a sin that will haunt her for the rest of her life. This answer would be given in the form of a man who’d had, by the Grace of God ONLY, an upbringing much the opposite of Tiffany’s.
Though I understand the concern Christians may have that books will stray into worldviews that are antithetical to their God-led beliefs, I am concerned when one PUBLICALLY judges (and discards) a 300-page work based on the first few pages only. It makes me wonder if lost souls are as easily judged and discarded due to some outer characteristic which does not define all of what Jesus wants us to know about them.
As to the second point, my thoughts are much more detailed …
I wrote this character, and those words that so offended, because they were the words used by women I’d known who DEEPLY regret their “choice” to abort what they now realize is a baby. Trust me, they did NOT go into the clinic thinking, “I’m going to murder my child.” They were desperately grasping for an out in a situation that seemed hopeless at best (having not known the power of God). They were telling themselves untruths with the belief they could convince themselves it was not wrong.
They did not succeed!
Many, as with the character in this story, had family that pushed and praised this decision as the “responsible” thing to do.
It is REAL that these are the words used by the abortionists to woo vulnerable young women to do what they will one day regret. Go to the clinic websites and see. I promise it will give you chills. They make it sound like a spa treatment for the cleansing of impurities. It is REAL that the vulnerable women are falling for them. It is also important that Christians understand the dynamics of the worlds of those who were not so BLESSED as to have grown up hearing about a loving God who cares intimately for their every need, and a sacrificing Savior who washes them clean of every blemish. If we choose not to try to understand these worlds, we cannot do the work Jesus called us to do. THAT is the intent of the book. To help the reader understand a world unlike their own, so they can be effective ministers TO those worlds.
I hope this reader will change his/her mind sometime and continue reading. I hope he/she will seek to understand the Tiffanys of the world who are very lost because many cast them off due to judging an ignorance of TRUTH rather than take a little more time to get to know the misguided soul.
As I mentioned above, those words were used by women who later regretted their “choice.” They did so only after good people took the time to get past the words and get to know the woman inside. The hero of the story (and all the real stories out there) is the one who finally does that.
I guess the reason this review bothers me so much is that since I’d written this book and told many about it, I’ve discovered even more women suffering in hidden grief (and even PTSD) because of regret. Women who need to talk this issue through with someone, but they are scared to mention it (for fear of judgment) to those who have the right faith from which to help them. So instead, they talk to those who agree with their “choice” and are further indoctrinated with those awful words. We cannot win against this worldview if those who’ve lived the truth are silent for fear of judgment.
Allow them a voice!
Be the one who will listen to all the ugliness without judgement and help them find the beauty of Truth.
If you'd like to hear one woman's powerful story of the abortion she chose and the impact on her life, click here. You won't be sorry!
Read an excerpt of An Insignificant Life, which includes the scene the reviewer detested, in addition to the one immediately following, which may have changed his/her mind about continuing (maybe).