The art of letter writing has become nothing but a memory of simpler times. The joy of rushing out the door to check the mailbox has now become a trudge of dread to anyone who owns one. These days it is filled with nothing but bills or adds for something we most likely will never need or want. There is no personal touch. There is no genuine inquisition or revealing.
I miss the days of receiving hand-written, heart-felt letters that revealed the joy experienced by those close to us, or the heartache that comes with passing time. In our letters we were vulnerable, we were encouraging, we were authentic. Let’s face it. It is easier to be genuine in a letter than face to face.
Perhaps this is why the verse in 2 Corinthians 3:3 strikes me. “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.”
To Paul, the early Christians were letters to the world around them of who Christ was and what he looked like. It was personal. It was authentic. It was genuine. Christ was reaching out through the hearts and hands of people to give hope and healing to those who needed it. The Christians had a message to send about Christ. It was good news…the BEST news and their lives would be the revealing of it.
These days it seems that letter has been forgotten. It has been overcome by the mundane routine of life that keeps us all in our own circles, in the comfortable atmosphere of our everyday environment. We’re now uncomfortable in reaching out, getting personal, and having genuine conversation. We’re uncomfortable getting radical with the letter of our lives. We’ve fallen for the lie that what we have to say, nobody would want to hear. We are rarely digging deep, rarely looking for opportunities to uplift, to give hope. We keep the message of Christ to ourselves instead of revealing it to the world because it seems too pushy. It crosses boundaries. With this train of thought, living a letter seems hardly necessary. It’s seems almost extreme. We don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, we don’t want to stand out, and we certainly don’t want to draw attention to ourselves by living in a unique way. Our “letter” becomes just another bill, another add, just another useless piece of paper that will affect no one. It’s a sad reality.
This got me thinking, if we begin to take what Paul says in 2 Corinthians seriously, we must ask ourselves, If our lives are a message from Christ to the world, then what is the message we are sending? What are we telling people with the letter of our lives? Are we sending a message that God is a deliverer, that God is alive and active and working in the hearts of those who turn to him to give hope of peace and eternal fulfillment? Or are we sending the message that God is indifferent, uninvolved, and uninterested? Are we making it known that God is a redeemer, that he sees broken people, and that he mends broken hearts? Is the news we share good? Is it the BEST?
The truth is, our lives are always preaching something, whether we like it or not. The letter of our lives reveals whether or not the love of God exists, whether or not he truly is reaching out to a broken world ready to deliver. How we live our lives matters. How we speak to people, how we reach out, IF we reach out matters! We’ve forgotten. We’ve gotten too comfortable. We need to get a little radical, start crossing some boundary lines and dig a little deeper to make our letter a little more impactful. So, with that in mind, does your letter read of the radical, life-changing love of God? Or does it read of a distant, cold, private, and uninterested God? Either way people are reading it. So, how does it read?