By nature, I’m a troublemaker. When something bad happens, my instinct has always been to find out who’s fault it is. Counseling for over fifteen years has taught me the truth that there’s always two sides to every story, and that seldom is there a problem where there’s not two parties who bear some guilt.
And yet something my bride has taught me is that assessing guilt accurately doesn’t guarantee a fix to the problem. We still have to ask the question, “Where do we go from here?”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” – Matthew 5:9
Of all the beatitudes, this character trait causes me to be named as someone who bears the spitting image of my heavenly Father. There are many attributes ascribed to God in the Bible. That God sent His Son into the world with the declaration “peace on earth, good will toward man” shows that God is indeed not willing that anyone should perish. He longs to be at peace with us and paid the ultimate price to make that possible.
So, if this our example, and Jesus made it clear we’re to follow Him, why is it that we often take a cutthroat mentality toward each other as Christians?
And why does it sometimes rear its ugly head in the publishing industry?
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; you shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you be not consumed one of another.” – Galatians 5:14-15.
I’ve seen enough “variance, emulations, strife, wrath, and sedition” over the last year or so to fill a lifetime. Self-Pubbed vs. Traditionally Pubbed, Big Publisher vs. Small Publisher, Digital vs. Physical books, Rules vs. No Rules. It seems like every little thing can ignite a firestorm of “works of the flesh” lately.
I expected that from the world. Among us…
“These things ought not be,” says the Apostle Paul.
At some point I need to look around and realize this is my brother or sister I’m about to blast. Yes, there’s greed. Yes, money seems to be the only bottom line that matters. But at the same time I’ve seen laziness and expectations that publication is something that’s owed to me because I have a story to tell. I’ve seen an agent who’s held in high esteem by the industry rip a teenage writer to shreds publicly on their blog for no apparent reason but to amuse his following at the young person’s expense. But I’ve also seen impatience and pride when good criticism comes from the powers-that-be.
So, we can either draw our lines and glare at each other from each side. Or we can get on our face before the Lord and say “Lord, you paid everything to make peace with me. Regardless of how I’m treated, I’m going to be loving toward my brother or sister.”
You might say they aren’t acting like your brother or sister. Well, then treat them as an enemy. “But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despite-fully use you…” – Matthew 5:44.
We’re not going to arrive at any worthy solutions if no one decides to act like our Father. And I’m glad He didn’t wait for me to make the first move. Yes, you’ll get wounded. Yes, it’s going to hurt. But then you’ll be even more like Jesus 🙂
It may be a cutthroat business, but we don’t have to be cutthroats. Let’s walk circumspectly as Christian writers knowing the days are evil.