Christians: Show Not Tell

Yesterday my buddy, my brother Tim Ward-yes, another Tim asked a question: Does your hero’s faith determine your market?

A great question for a writer of any genre. Some comments were made about and it seems that  “Christian” books are marked with a big X on the spine to give away it’s Christianness. Christianess? I digress.

And literally as I type this I read: Disillusioned Disciple: No one could live with you if you appeared too perfect in your own sight. Not even I could live with you, child. My glory best reveals itself through rough-hewn humanity, which Scripture calls “vessels of clay”. Has it occurred to you that you just may qualify.–From Power To soar.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.[a] This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. II Corinthians 4:7


So what I’m saying here and sort of another response to Tim’s question is this: I want to show the world how my hero and her world is imperfect just like ours-in my writing. My whole I’m a Christian, not a “christian writer” thing? It’s very meaningful to me.  I am out to prove to the world that I am not a judgmental gay-bashing hypocritical Christian-they way so many of us are seen. One of my missions in life is to be the opposite of all of those things. Because HE is the opposite of those things. Christ wants me-us-to be like Him. That is why we are given the gift to be called Christian. So many people grow up in a “Christian” home where they are fed the message of hate. They are led to believe-by parents, teachers, leaders-that Christ is this unforgiving master of servants who is ever serious and could care less about humanity. This is the extreme of it. The belief that He hates “f*****s. Oh, that saddens me so. But…I know it saddens Him in an unimaginable way.

Others are never showed the love of Christ. They never see it. The saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Now although this does contradict scripture-Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”–John 20:29-it is true. Now hear me on this. I say it’s true because many Christians are yet to understand the full scope of the Word. Once they save, Jesus forgive me, they are saved, but then comes growth. But without studying, without prayer and without the Spirit-growth is never achieved.

So they need to see us. They need to hear us and they need to read our words. We cannot simply say, “I love Jesus” and “I’m a Christian”. They’ve heard that already. For years. And years. People hate us. They mock us. They shun us. But a lot of time–it’s our own fault. I say our because I speak to Christiandome as a whole. If I come across as judgmental myself here, I assure you, I by no means am a judge.

You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit,–Matthew 7:17, 18.

They need to see us laugh! Crank some tunes! They need to know that Jesus IS an awesome God. He laughs with us! Shouts in joy for us! And They need to see that He is REAL.

So I repeat, we show not tell. Show not tell. This message can be powerful even across the internet. Shall we?

Be blessed!

About Tymothy Longoria

Tymothy Longoria has been described as a writer with a flair for the dramatic (whether this is true still remains to be seen). He is a fan of all things fantastic, metal music, black t-shirts, and aligns himself with geeks, nerds, and all manner of monsters, and is an ardent, optimistic supporter of his fellow creatives. He has written several short stories for the online macabre zine Underneath The Juniper Tree and in 2012 was awarded Debut Author of the Year by Twisted Core Press for 'Envy', his contribution to the Seven Deadly Sins Anthology. He is currently editing his full-length dark fantasy retelling, Revenants: Book One of The Stories. Fairy tales? If only. Legends will be reborn. Tymothy calls Texas home, where he lives with his wife, two children, and a cat called ThunderCat aka Kitty PawKitty. He is represented by Bree Ogden of Red Sofa Literary.

11 comments on “Christians: Show Not Tell

  1. You make a great point, and it’s making me think about my story and main character. My character’s emotional struggle is between selfishness and sacrifice. I’m afraid if I have a moment where his faith convinces him to choose sacrifice, or someone says, “Our belief system says this…” then it becomes a Christian book. I don’t know that that would be considered “telling” because I’m showing how such a belief system would affect a follower in a time of crisis. I don’t know. I’ve got more thinking to do about this, but I’m glad you brought this up. It brings another thought process to the table. Now on to writing, I have big plans for today. 🙂
    Thanks Tym, rejoice in your blessings today. I’ll try and do the same.

  2. My Dearest Tymothy,

    God has a strong sturdy vessel with you! Sail on my friend and show your colors from the flag pole so that all the world will know that you are a child of God!

  3. Back when I was a Pagan there were a lot of Christian folks who would evangelize at me, and claim they were ‘speaking the truth in love’, but instead of showing me some love all I saw was pride and disdain.

    Now that I’m a Christian and have joined a cool Bible-believing church (the Roman Catholic church), I can see the truth about God’s love for myself but still there are a lot of Christians out there who are showing me their worst side.

    To me ‘Christian fiction’ is a work by a Christian writer with a Christian worldview, it’s not about which publisher or if there is a cross on the cover. I don’t much identify with those ‘perfect Christian’ hero characters that never really deal with anything more difficult than a scuffed Bible cover. Those characters seem more like a vehicle for an author who wants to preach at readers.

    My current hero is Taliesin, a Christian with some very deep flaws (for one thing, he’s a vampire.) And I very much doubt he’s going to overcome all his flaws to become some perfect Christian stereotype. But I do hope his story will at some point glorify God and perhaps point a reader or two in the direction of Truth.

    • My Dearest Nissa,

      There is good and bad everywhere. Up to and including the Church. Just because someone says they’re a Christian doesn’t mean that they are all knowing and fault free. It does mean that they are trying to do God’s bidding and that we cannot fault. I think that people come into a church thinking that all it’s members are holy and sin free.WRONG! They are sinners trying to do the right thing.That does not make them better or holier than anyone else.

    • Nissa, when you see someone “speaking the truth in love” and they don’t sound particularly loving, forgiving, gracious, etc, they probably are being motivated by love to share the truth, but don’t know how to actually say it in a gentle, loving, forgiving, gracious manner. Be careful not to judge them back, that only reinforces the negative examples they’re emulating. Instead gently show them/teach them the right way to do it. 🙂

    • There are always going to be people who show us their worst side. Such is man. Ours is to be an example of the truth at all times.

      The only perfect one is the Holy One. Any other is just striving towards that perfection.

      The questions I ask in my writing are: If you lost a loved one, will you still trust in Him?
      If your entire life was destroyed, will you still believe?
      If you have never seen Him but see Him in others…will you call out and see what He is really all about?

      I ask myself these questions. I’ve been asking these questions and more since I was 15. He never tarries with His answers.

      That, in my opinion is a great idea. A Christian who becomes a vampire. What would that do to his/her beliefs? To his/her faith in those beliefs?


      Be blessed!

  4. Tymothy, I love the analogy “show don’t tell” which should be the sign over every writer’s desk. And your tying it to our Christian walk and talk is fantastic! I’ve never heard it applied that way before, but it is certainly scriptural. Right on, and write on!

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