“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 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.”
Those words were written by Paul in a letter to the believers at the Corinthian Church (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).
We don’t write handwritten letters too much anymore, do we? It’s easier to write an email, a Facebook message, or just send a text. We may write an occasional note in a graduation or wedding card, but for the most part, handwritten letters have become as rare as a rotary dial phone hanging on the wall.
When we do receive a handwritten letter, it is something special. Perhaps it is from a grandparent or a friend from long ago. It could be in cursive, which the younger generation would have a hard time deciphering, or it could be written with colored ink, but it is still an unexpected source of encouragement and a personal expression from someone we know.
Paul says that Christians are a “letter from Christ.” We are literally a walking, talking missive from Jesus himself. And how we treat other people, is the message they hear from that “letter.” Showing compassion, love, empathy, and grace are all part of what our letter should convey to others. Our day-to-day lives ought to reflect all the attributes of who Jesus was when He walked this earth.
God didn’t write using traditional means such as pencil or pen. Nor did He write on paper, or as they did long ago, on stone. But instead, the means of transmitting the message is through the Holy Spirit. And the receptacle of that message is our hearts.
William Barkley writes, “There is a great truth here, which is at once an inspiration and an awful warning – every man is an open letter for Jesus Christ. Every Christian, whether he likes it or not, is an advertisement for Christianity. The honor of Christ is in the hands of his followers. We judge a shopkeeper by the kind of goods he sells; we judge a craftsman by the kind of articles he produces; we judge a Church by the kind of men it creates; and therefore men judge Christ by his followers.”
Let us live in such a way that the message the world hears is that which emanates from the very heart of the Father and his Son Jesus Christ.