You've all heard people say, "I never read fiction!" and you've heard people say, "I only read fiction!"
Where is the balance? I mean we all know it's not good to live with our head in the clouds. It seems like the world is full of people who live in an imaginary world and because of it they have unrealistic views on life. We don't want that... we don't want to live for things that don't matter.
Is reading non-fiction even worth the time? I mean when we're on our deathbed, are we going to regret having spent the time reading the books we read? Are we going to wish that we had spent our time reading more profitable things?
Obviously everyone has different convictions and opinions on the matter. I know people who won't hardly touch a book besides their Bible, and others who will read anything they can get their hands on. So if you don't agree with my conclusion, that's okay.
The Bible is without a doubt the most important book anyone can ever read.
I could give you a lot of quotes from the founding fathers about how important the Bible is, but I think the most powerful statements are in the Bible itself.
If we have the Bible, we don't need anything else. So what does the Bible say about reading other books? The Bible is very clear that we're supposed to learn from the mistakes and victories of others. We're supposed to listen to the counsel of those who have served God before us. I don't know about you, but I feel like God has taught me a lot through the lives of others through the books that they wrote. So yes, I think it's okay if we read God honoring non-fiction. God wants us to learn from the wisdom of others. Proverbs 1:5 "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:"
So where does fiction fall in? I know people who regret having wasted hours reading books that were useless. They didn't learn anything from them, they were simply amusing. If all fiction does is amuse us, then it is a waste of time. However there are times when fiction teaches you lessons that reality obscures.
When Jesus wanted to get a point across, He often used metaphors, or parables. Because stories are often easier for people to connect with. You can tell us to be kind to our neighbors, but until you show us a man lying on the side of the road from an enemy country that needs help, it doesn't mean as much to us. But when we see the man in need, we realize what it really means to love our neighbor as ourselves. Fiction that makes us think through Biblical things, is good. Fiction that tells us what to think, is a waste of time.
I guess fiction or non-fiction, it all comes down to this; What does it provoke in your heart? If it provokes you to good works, then great! If it doesn't challenge you to do good, then it's a waste of time.
For me personally, I've found that I need both fiction and non-fiction. "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand." Philippians 4:5
Non-fiction inspires my mind and gives me facts to work with. Fiction inspires my heart and makes me feel more personal about things.
I've read a lot of books in my life and looking back, I've been changed for the better because of the books I've read. When I was young, I went through a stage where I actually didn't like reading. I felt too old for the picture books but everything else seemed boring. Then I read a Hardy Boy book. Now I know the Hardy Boy books are probably not going to inspire anyone to do great things so for the majority of people, they're probably a waste of time. However they did something for me that I'm very grateful for. Because I read that Hardy Boy book, I wanted to read more. I read all of the ones we had and when I was done, I had learned to enjoy reading. Because I learned to enjoy reading, I was open to reading other books, including some non-fiction books that inspired me and changed my life.
It was through a fiction book that I got convicted about not reading my Bible when I was younger. It was through a fiction book that I first felt the need to hand out gospel tracts, and it was through a fiction book that I really learned what it meant to be completely honest.
So what about you? Have you read any fiction books that have really inspired you?
Until next time, this is Priscilla J. Krahn reminding you to keep your mind stayed on Christ!
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