Sometimes, the things we go through or the mistakes we make can be used to help other people who are going through the same problems or struggles. So, today, I’m going to get a little personal about something I recently did and something I went through.
I disobeyed God.
It’s a terrible fact in life, that we all sin. Sometimes, sin is accidental or beyond our control and other times, we willingly give into it because we want our sin more than we want God. The other day I found this book called The Jackal by JR Ward and if you don’t know her, she’s a good author and super famous, but her books are paranormal, erotic, romance. I read a lot of the books in her Black Dagger Brotherhood Series when I was in high school but then God convicted me of reading something like that with sex in it, so I stopped and haven’t read it since. She came out with a new book called The Jackal and I started it without even thinking it. Now, I’ve always skipped reading the sex scenes. It’s easier than movies because with movies, you still have to fast-forward, but a book, you can just… skip the pages and not read them. But this one had so much cussing; it threw out f-bomb after f-bomb and even used God’s name in vain multiple times. So, I felt convicted about reading it, but I wanted to know what happened in the story. I don’t want other people to make the same mistake I did, so I’m not going to talk about what the book was; but there were several mysteries revolving the main guy’s past and whether the main girl would succeed in her goal or not. I felt like I needed to know what happened.
So, yesterday morning before my Bible study I prayed to God about it. I said, “Father God, if you don’t want me reading this book, please convict me of it so hard that I can’t read it—that I literally won’t be able to read it.” I wanted a confirmation from Him because I was confused and unsure what to do.
Then, I opened my Bible. I’ve been reading through the gospel of Matthew one chapter at a time, so I read Matthew chapter 18.
When I got down to verse eight, I was dumbfounded.
“If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.”
Needless to say, that was as direct as direct could get. It felt like God was hitting me over the head with a frying pan and yet, it was still gentle. I felt His love and gentle correction as I read it and I was thankful and grateful that not only did He take the time to speak to me directly, using His Word, but to correct and gently discipline me and to guide me on what I should do next.
Cast the book away. Stop reading it.
It was right there in writing; what God was asking of me.
This is when the conflict started. Every part of me wanted to continue reading it. I felt I needed to know what happened to the characters. I justified myself by saying, “I don’t like the cussing and I don’t like the sex. I’m not reading it for that. I’m skipping the sex scenes. I’m reading it for the good plotline.” Or, I tried to come up with ideas, like, “I’ll take a sharpie and mark through all the cuss words.” I was so upset, because on the one hand, I had a book with a really intense, suspenseful plotline and I wanted to know what happened next, but on the other, God had told me directly what He wanted me to do and I didn’t want to disobey or just ignore Him.
The heart is willing but the flesh is weak. So very weak, in my case.
Then, I thought of a bright idea. I figured, I could just look up a detailed spoiler review or a detailed summary of the story, so I could read what happened and find out what I wanted to know without reading the book or the bad stuff in it. So, I googled off and on all day yesterday and couldn’t find one. Apparently, the book was too new. I thought for sure, God would provide one so that I didn’t have to read the book. But sometimes, God allows us to go through temptation because if He just took it away all the time, we would never grow. Sometimes, we have to just grow up and make the choice to do the right thing.
That isn’t what I did.
I even messaged my sister in law whom I knew liked the series—the one who started me at it when I was in high school—to see if she had read it and if she could tell me about it, but she hadn’t read it yet. So, I was back to square one.
Fast-forward to last night and I didn’t even try to resist. I got giddy and excited and said, I’m just gonna read it quickly, get through it, and never do this again.
So, I read the book and finished it in a few hours.
The answers I wanted were there—a big twist I saw coming, with another smaller twist at the end I didn’t see. I found out about the main guy’s backstory and why he was there and the idea was a bit repetitive and not as creative as I hoped. I guess, in my head, I wanted this big, epic creative idea that I could just fall in love with and use in my own stories but in a more creative and clean way, tweak it with other ideas and boom, have a new epic story but that isn’t what happened.
I read the book, enjoyed it while I read it, skipped the bad scenes, and now its over. Literally, I started re-reading one of my own books right after I finished and I got more enjoyment from it. My mood changed and shifts, a new book comes and it’s over. It was temporarily pleasure—choosing what I wanted over what God wanted and what did it get me? What did I gain?
It caused me to read bad words, to mentally take God’s name in vain as I read over the lines where the characters blasphemed God. It caused me to want to go back and read that series and catch up on what I missed.
But now, I have another decision to make. Myself and my fleshly desires or God. The last time I chose myself, it wasn’t as enjoyable as I thought it was going to be and the pleasure didn’t last.
I disobeyed my Father in heaven and disappointed Him and myself.
Now, I’ve made a decision to stay away from JR Ward and her books, as well as any other paranormal erotic romance novels. I won’t even read the book blurbs/synopsis because if I do that, if the book sounds good, I’m going to want to read it. If I start reading it, I won’t stop. So, I have to cut off the perverbial hand and cast it away from me. Better to be maimed and go without paranormal erotic romance than to have that sin in my life.
Now, it isn’t easy. I’m not just gonna sit here and tell you guys that I’m such a fantastic person because I’m doing the right thing, so yay me. Nope. It isn’t easy at all. My desire is to read the series, to know about the characters, to take the plotlines and weave them into my own stories in a clean way, but I can’t. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. But by reading that, when I know God told me directly not to, I am going against the One who gave me life—both on earth, and eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Do I really want to dishonor everything Jesus went through for me, for a few hours of happiness that ended as soon as I read the last page?
It isn’t worth it.
I hope that the mistake I made can help some of you struggling with the same issue or even the same generic problem. Maybe it isn’t erotic romance novels. Maybe your sin is something else. Maybe you hate your sin and you want it gone, but there’s a part of you that can’t stop or doesn’t want to stop. Maybe you justify it and don’t even see it as wrong. Maybe you don’t want to face it. Because facing it means that you have to deal with it and get rid of it, or be against God and you don’t want to put yourself in that position. No matter where you’re at in life and what you’re struggling with, take it from someone who knows from experience, whatever is tempting you will not give you as much pleasure as you’re thinking. Even if it does and it feels wonderful and you have fun while you’re doing it… it will not last. In a few hours, or days, or maybe even weeks or months, it will be over and you’ll forget all about it and move on to something else.
If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it away from you. Whatever causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it away. Get rid of it before it consumes you. Don’t be a slave to sin, to your own earthly, fleshly desires like I have been before. Be a servant to a holy God who loves you so much that He died so that you could be saved and set free from those very sins.