Should Christians Write about Darkness?

by - October 04, 2019


Should Christians write about darkness?

Many of us have probably heard Philippians 4:8, which says:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Such a great verse, right? From the title of this post, you might be thinking that I'm going to say no, Christians shouldn't write about darkness.

But in reality, we live in a broken world where people sin against God. Just take a peek at the news, and there's some darkness for you. And of course, in the Bible, there is darkness too.

When it comes to writing, however, is it all right for Christians to write about darkness purposefully? I mean, how can we write about darkness when we're not supposed to dwell on evil things?

There's definitely a balance here. Let's dive deeper!


Why Do We Want to Write about Darkness?

The first thing to consider is this: Why do we, as Christians, WANT to write about darkness in the first place?

There are right answers and wrong answers to this question.

Wrong answer examples:

I'm an evil author. I enjoy torturing my characters and then (maybe) patching them up later. It's just fun! Mwahaha!
~or~
I love making my characters go through this dark stuff because it makes the story more exciting and motivating to write.
~or~
People won't read my story unless I make it darker. Darker = more interesting

Do you see the pattern there? Some writers torture their characters simply because they love it and it makes the story more interesting and exciting. Some writers believe people won't read their stories unless they're on the darker side.

Now here are some right answer examples:

I love making my characters go through some pain because I'm teaching them a lesson. Therefore, I'm teaching the readers something too.
~or~
I love bringing light and hope into darkness.
~or~
This world is dark, but Jesus is the light. There is no situation too dark for Christ to shine his light through, and I want to show that in this story.

Do you see the difference between these two kinds of reasons? The wrong kind of reasons has to do with interesting contentthe darker it is, the more interesting it is.

The right kind of reasons has to do with bringing light and hope into darknessbecause, as Christians, we need to bring Christ's light into this dark world.

How Can Writing about Darkness Help a Reader?

This world is so dark from sin and death that we as writers should want to bring light and hope into dark situations.

I'll tell you right now that I don't write perfectly good stories. Not everything is fun-and-games in my books. There are real struggles. There's death. There's heartache.

In my novelette, Healed by the Storm, my MC goes through a very hard time. Using this difficult circumstance, I brought light into the story and showed my MC hope. And you know what? After reading my book, one of my beta readers received hope too. She was going through a really hard time, and this story touched her and helped her. I had impacted her life through my story. (And, in turn, that really touched and encouraged me as the writer.)

But you know what? Healed by the Storm deals with some real issues. Hatred, suicidal thoughts, and an unforgiving character.

But with these conflicts and issues, your character learns something new and important, and your reader might as well.

Know When It's Time to Stop

Writing about darkness can sometimes be...well, dark. That's where wisdom comes in. We all need to know when to stop.

I asked my fellow YDubbers about this, and here's what they said:

My preferred sequence of action: write, then step back, then reappear, then re-read, then edit according to necessity. ~Bella

I would say that it’s whenever it no longer reflects reality. If you notice that your writing seems to act more for the purpose of satisfying the darker side of your readers’ minds rather than making your readers righteously appalled, then it’s time to look at it from a different angle. ~Rachel

I think the goal should always be to point your readers to truth and hope. As long as you’re doing that, I think you’re fine. If you find that you’re not pointing your readers toward truth and hope, then I think you need to reevaluate. ~Havilah

I love this advice!

If you are experiencing weird feelings, or find you are no longer pointing your readers "to truth and hope," then it's probably time to step back, take a break, and reevaluate whether or not you should continue (or take away some of the deep stuff).

So Why Do YOU Want to Write about Darkness?

Now it's YOUR turn to think about this. Why do YOU want to write about darkness?

Or do you? Some writers don't write about darkness, but stories that are "perfect" are often cheesy and unrealistic. Not all of the time, though. I have read a series about a family, and the characters are nearly perfect human beings. I enjoyed reading the books!

So what are your reasons for writing about darkness? Do your reasons fall under the "bad reasons" or "good reasons" category?


I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful! Be sure to subscribe to my email list to get every post in your inbox, as well as monthly accountability for your own writing, and more!


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what about you?
So after reading this post, what do you think? Should Christians write about darkness? Why or why not?

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2 comments

  1. I like to say you can’t always change the world by writing Mary Poppins (but don’t tell my little brother I said that! ;)). Sometimes things that are noble and right have to involve darkness, because that’s life. Real life can be traumatic...and we need stories that show us hope through those circumstances, not that pretend such things don’t happen.

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    1. *nods* Good thoughts, Kassie. You're so right! Dark things do happen to people, but they don't always have to. We can shine Christ's light in dark situations and help others see the truth and amazing message of the gospel! Praise God!

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