Are “Christian” Characters Bondservants of Christ?
The history of slavery throughout the world is both a fascinating and terrible study. And sadly, human trafficking is alive and well, sometimes even in our own backyards. Hard to believe, right? But according to this FBI press release I saw this morning, arrests were made in America as recently as yesterday.
It’s easy to get outraged at stories like this one, and I think we should, though we have to be careful that this outrage does not carry through to our own servitude to Christ.
The Biblical bondservant is not forced into tragic slavery, but rather volunteers to serve the master, as in Exodus 21:5-6.
But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.
Are we bitter servants, begrudgingly doing the things God has asked us to do? Are we outraged at His commands? Or do we truly deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Him as willing servants who love and cherish their Master?
Sometimes not, and if we’re not careful, an indignant attitude will carry on into our characters as well. In our self-serving society, we need to write Christian characters who willingly put the needs of others in front of themselves.
Some of the Christian fiction books I’ve read portray one character as a “Christian” and the other as lost, but if the author hadn’t explicitly told me, I wouldn’t have been able to figure it out on my own from their actions.
There’s a fine balance between making the Christian character come off as perfect vs. a complete hypocrite. No question, we all sin, so they do need to have a few flaws to be believable. And they need to acknowledge these flaws and convey to other characters that they’re actively working to overcome their temptations and weaknesses.
I’ve been reading in Galatians a lot this week, trying to do some memory work. I keep coming back to the words of Paul in chapter one, verse ten:
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
I think that’s the key. Are our Christian characters people pleasers or God pleasers?