I’ve been meaning to write this post for some time now. Something’s been holding me back. i think there’s an element in most of us that wants to be liked. I’m no different. I don’t want to offend people. Once you read this post, you’ll find that last statement ironic.
This week, I sent my final edits to my editor. It’s for my YA dystopian that will be published by Brimstone Fiction, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in the fall of 2015. Pressing that send button was amazing, and terrifying, and wonderful, and terrifying, and humbling and terrifying…you get the idea. There’s something about putting a book out there for the world to see that is…well…for lack of a better term…terrifying.
I want people to love my work. After all, I’ve spent years writing, tweaking, editing, rewriting, brainstorming, and developing. My heart and soul are in that work. And suddenly (as suddenly as publishing works) the public gets to judge it. Anyone who has ever created anything wants others to like that creation, be it our kids or the work of our hands. We don’t go into the project saying, “Oh, yes, I hope people will hate it.” At least, I’ve never known anyone to do that. We want people to like our creations. Such is the case with my book.
There’s one little problem with that. You see, I write about things that are offensive. My first book covered the abortion topic. No matter what side I wrote, no matter how well it may have depicted the issue, I have offended someone. While this new book doesn’t come right at the issue like my first book did, it, too, touches on topics that will offend people. (Yes, even a Young Adult Dystopian novel can be offensive.)
But I’ve learned it’s okay to be offensive.
I’m a Christian. That statement alone may offend some people. But I’m not willing to deny that faith to make people comfortable. I know that my faith is offensive. I say there is one way to heaven: Jesus Christ. Those not willing to accept that will be offended by that statement. I say that once you have a relationship with Christ, you will change. (Not that those changes are necessary to create that faith, but rather a response to it.) Having to change is offensive to some. There are many things I say are right or wrong based on my faith. Others may disagree. Actually, others do disagree. By saying x, y, or z, all sorts of people will think I am horrible. But I’m okay with that. I have to be.
Christ told us that people would hate us and persecute us for his name. Christianity isn’t all flowers and confetti. It’s hard work to forgive those who have hurt me. It’s hard to conform my life to the image of Christ; I fail often and receive God’s forgiveness all the time. I am by no means perfect. Thankfully, my relationship with God takes care of that. Making these choices and telling others about Jesus will be offensive to many. But I’m willing to be offensive to people in order to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.
So when my book hits the public, and I get a few scathing reviews, I will remind myself that God’s message of life is more important than my feelings at the moment. (Hopefully they won’t all be bad. 🙂 ) When I make people uncomfortable with my words in order to tell a story of redemption, I will remember that God’s view of me is more important than people’s view of me.
So, I hit send. My book moves one step closer to being in print. One step closer to offending someone, but also one step closer to bringing hope to someone who may desperately need it.
I’ll be offensive for that any day… will you?