CONFESSION #30: Sometimes I forget to think about how my creative content might affect others.
Image this, you're watching a movie or reading a book when all of the sudden a sinking feeling sits in and you start to question, "Why am I watching or reading this?" This happens more so when I consume creative work rather than when I create, but I'm sure you can relate with the feeling. There are times when I start reading a book or watching a movie and then it just doesn't sit right with me for a bunch of reasons.
For me, this has happened more so with the fiction books that I read. A friend might recommend a book, I start reading it, and it portrays an idolatrous romantic relationship. I read it for a little bit, but the more I read, the more uncomfortable I feel. And so I stop reading it. Or sometimes I'll read a book and it delights in the things that God does not delight in, and so I stop reading it, because my conscience does not feel right about it.
I never want my audiences regardless of the artistic medium to feel that way while engaging my creative work. EVER. I would like my audiences to engage my work critically and be forced to think about the messages my art might invoke, but I don't want them to feel uncomfortable to the point that my creative work becomes a stumbling block.
In thinking through this idea, I've been focusing a lot on Romans 14:
"Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it is unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us purse what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding."
Whew! That was a long passage for this little blog, but it's so crucial. In context, Paul wrote this to the Romans in response to religious laws about food. He encourages them that they are free in Christ to eat any food, since Christ makes it clean. However, he encourages them to abstain from eating food if it might make a brother stumble. However, this passage this passage applies to more than food.
Starting in verse seventeen, Paul talks about the heart of why we shouldn't put a stumbling block in the way of a brother or sister. The heart is that the kingdom of God is about "righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." That's the focus and the heart. But ultimately in verse 18, "Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men." If the heart behind a person's creative work is serving Christ, then their work is acceptable to God. This even goes back to what we talked about yesterday with creating work to the glory of God.
This part of the passage closes with, "So let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding." This applies to our creative work.
Our Content Should:
1. Be to the glory of God.
2. Serve Christ.
3. Promote peace and be for the mutual upbringing and edification of others.
Numbers one and two are the main goals when it comes to creating content, and we focused on them in yesterday's post but another question you could be asking is, "Does my creative content edify the people that engage it?"
Edify by definition means to instruct or improve especially in moral and religious knowledge.
Does your creative content do that? If I'm honest, my content falls short of the mark. The content I consume even falls short of the mark at times. But this is another way to gauge whether our content is bringing glory to God.
I encourage you, as you work on your next creative work, think through how the content you are creating will edify others. By seeking to edify others, you're ultimately serving Christ through your work and that's to the glory of God.
This post is part of a 31 day series called Confessions of a Creative Christian.
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