Write Letters about Your Life
Paul was expecting the members of the church of Corinth to make a difference in the rather corrupt world around them by living pure lives filled with kindly love, lives that proved the practicality and the benevolence of the Christ. We can easily assume that Paul would want us to do the same today. So how do we do this? How do we maintain our integrity and compassion and elevate and bless those around us?
In his second letter to the Corinthian church, Paul writes,
Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God's living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives—and we publish it. (The Message, II Cor. 3:2, 3)
Wow! Our lives are letters -- emails, blogs, chat room posts, advertisements, etc. But Paul didn't say that our "words" were open for people to read; anyone can talk. He said our "lives," which means our actions, our deeds.
What are our lives saying? What are people reading in us? Can they see the power of the Christ? Do they see our love for others? Do they see purity, strength, and humility? Do their interactions with us make them feel loved or give them a better perspective on life?
Write Letters about Your Life
In order to 1) see what our lives are currently saying and 2) make sure they're saying what we want them to be say, let's write some letters from different perspectives.
- Write a letter about what you think your life is currently saying to those around you.
- Be honest, open, and as objective as possible.
- Don’t try to keep secrets in this letter. It’s pretty amazing how secrets don’t stay secrets forever.
- Read your letter and see what you think -- check how it makes you feel. Do you like what your life says? What would you change? How would you change things?
- If you’re tempted to feel discouraged and depressed, please make sure you write the next two letters, especially the 3rd.
- In order to give ourselves a sense of hope, let’s have trust in God. Paul wrote: “And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God” (KJV II Cor. 3:4-5). Paul explains that we are able to do good and be wonderful not because of ourselves but because of God. God makes us “sufficient,” able to do His work.
- Write a letter about what you want your life to say.
- Think broadly and expansively.
- Take to heart what Paul says to the Corinthians: “I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way…. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!” (The Message, II Cor. 6:11-13).
- After you’ve read it, write down what you think you need to do to let your life read the way you want it to.
- Take the appropriate steps: maybe you want to start being more encouraging to people; stop criticizing others; help your family more; tutor a friend who’s having problems in school; start a food drive for the needy, etc.
- Write a letter from God's perspective. When God reads your life, what does He see?
- This is the most important letter of all. Paul explains, “What you say about yourself means nothing in God’s work. It’s what God says about you that makes the difference” (The Message, II Cor. 10:18). So, what does God say about us?
- We need to make sure we have a really clear understanding of God before we begin.
- If we think of God as a man sitting up in the clouds, noting every little mistake we’ve made and comparing it to the good we’ve done, or if we think of God as both good and evil, capable of sending sickness and health, destruction and abundance, sorrow and joy, then our letter won’t read correctly. It won’t be very helpful, either.
- What is the nature of God, and how does He see us?
- “God is love” (I John 4:8).
- “Thou [God] art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity” (Hab. 1:13).
- “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deut. 32:4).
- “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13).
- “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26).
- “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).
- “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (I John 3:1).
- Once we understand God’s absolute goodness, we can listen to God’s view of us and write His letter. Of course, it will be all good.
- Keep this letter. It’s the truth about you. Read it whenever you need to be reminded about your true identity and character. Let it inspire, encourage, and sustain you.
- Then, you can write letters for other people.
- If you see people who need help, write a letter or send them an email telling them about all the good you see in them.
- If it’s appropriate, write someone a letter or send an email about how God sees him or her -- full of love, mercy, and kindness.
- If there’s a person you’re really having a problem with, ask God how He sees that person, and then write it down. You may or may not send it, but it will help you significantly to see that person the way God does.
Enjoy writing letters, emails, blogs, and taking to heart what Paul wrote to those who were very dear to him:
We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you." (The Message, II Cor. 5.20)