Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
I once heard someone use these verses to teach that Christ-followers need to be wary of more than just outright sins. There are non-sins that would woo us away from Christ as our first love. That’s the “everything that hinders” that the author of Hebrews lists as a separate entity alongside “the sin that so easily entangles.”
I don’t know about you, but I speak for myself when I say that it’s those gray areas that stump me. Give me black and give me white. But if you put something less defined in front of me, I don’t always know what to do with it.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Today I wanted to discuss the non-sinful “everything that hinders” as it relates to fiction.
I have my own standards for what classifies as an edifying read that I make outside of God’s Word. I’ve met other readers – perhaps you’re one of them – who have standards of their own which aren’t always the same as mine. Hopefully, we base these standards on what we have known to either spur us on to godliness or hinder us.
In my case, the one recurring thing that hinders me and that I debate over most often is romance. Even light romance. A book doesn’t have to fall in that genre to contain kisses and glimpses into the thought life of someone who has “fallen in love.”
But for some readers, such moderate romance doesn’t hinder. On the contrary, they may get stuck on some violence that I would consider trivial.
I’ve listed some questions for us to think about together and make discussion over. Feel free to chime in with related questions of your own.
- Do you agree that certain non-sins can hinder us from running the race that is marked out for us?
- How can we exercise the freedom we have in Christ, while nurturing our devotion to Him as our first love?
- Where do you stand on romance in fiction? Violence? Swearing? Magic? Sexual immorality (like LGBT+)?
- What do you do when there’s just a little bit of something you disapprove of? Do you have a way of measuring these things that hinder? Do you have a certain threshold?
- What do you do with a book you’ve deemed destructive?
- What guidelines do you wish all authors would adhere to?
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,