Why does the red letter pen scare us? I think back to school days, the paper gets slid across my desk and with streaks of bold bright red marks, my worth plummeted. My work was determining my worth and the red letter pen was leading the revolt.
It feels so personal, knowing it’s not, I pin my protesting parts down and tell her to get a grip and keep practicing on how to not freak out.
I expected this at 16 not 27, 37, 47.. You get the gist of it. Turns out, I was wrong. I still needed to practice not freaking out over, well, life period. Red marks happen, because life does. They sting.
Red Letter Words
I wonder if red marks in life may be closely related to why the red letter words scare us.They shouldn’t. They should give us room to rest, room to breathe, room to see, after all they are the very words of Jesus.
Patsy Clairmont has written 30 books. She said that her first book was handed back to her with so many red marks that she thought it was bleeding.
After that, she asked for the editor to mark it in green because it would represent growth, instead of an ouch that stings.
I often thought my entire life looked marked with a red letter pen, not just a book like Patsy.. I have come to discover the red letter words of Jesus swallowed up the red letter marks of my life.
Growing up in a very authoritarian type home, rules were everything. I didn’t mean to break rules, but I did.
This never works out good for the sensitive kid because they walk through life being paranoid.
Every time their boss asks to speak to them, they immediately get flung back into middle school when the teacher calls their name to come to the desk.
Every time and I don’t mean a few, but every. Single. Time. I thought, I must have done something wrong.
This never looks pretty for the pleaser.. It projects you into this insecure, low- self esteem kid who wonders daily if they are mad at me. Whoever, they are.
This kind of kid doesn’t just outgrow it, it grows with her.. This same person wondering if their parent is disappointed is the same adult who wonders if God is disappointed in them.
Add in if their employer is concerned with their level of production and you find a very spiritually tired person.
Enter the red letters.
The red letters are meant to reflect the love of Christ speaking and directing us, but to the kid growing up in a strict law based home it means the red letters are angry.
When you read them, you see that’s not true. If you think God is an angry God then you’re always afraid. Afraid of doing something wrong or breaking a rule. Enter legalism. Legalism is all rules and no love, humanism is all love and no rules. ( or I like to call it boundaries)
God puts laws in place to protect us. When we don’t respect them we hurt ourselves, the law doesn’t do it, we do. We hurt ourselves and then we blame God. Strange irony huh?
God in his infinite wisdom warns us to protect us, we think we are smarter and wiser at times. We just curiously want to see and get bit as we stray. Life can bite us.
Temptations designed to sift us directly away from God and his plan have always been designed by the enemy to hijack your trustworthiness in God’s faithfulness.
God isn’t withholding something from us, He is holding something for us. These red letter words lead us home. They lead us to Him.
They are clothed and perfectly designed to fit us.They can adjust us when we get off course so we are able to maximize every good thing He has for us. Course corrections keep us from ending up in a ditch.
These red letter words protect and preserve our coming and going. When these words are ingested and acted upon they come alive and empower you to live the life God has for you.
So much different than the red letter pen of a teacher that grades you based upon a grading scale. The red letter words you are given are based upon a scale you could never complete or compete with.. It is a kingdom.
A kingdom that only could be activated by the person behind the red letter words. He fulfilled the law because you could never be good enough or perform hard enough to fulfill it.
That’s what the red letter words are for, to let you know He did it for you. He fulfilled all of the handwritten requirements that would be impossible for you to fulfill. He did it so you can stop being worn out trying. Just believe.
Jesus says, Just come to me. Know me. Receive from me. See my words as they are, the true living word sent to you. Come with all your broken parts and know me. When light starts trickling into your life, dark gaps start getting filled in. Light and love flow from red letter words and hope starts replacing hopeless.
Red Letter Truth
His truth begins lighting your path and your heart. The once terrified girl who ran away from any red letter starts running to red letters.
Isn’t God amazing? He is like a wise master craftsman taking the things we are most afraid of and turning them into beams of courage as He builds us.
He asks us to step into areas He knows will take unbelievable trust and assurance.
Only God can turn things in our lives around and He often does it through the quiet rustling of pages turning as our eyes fall upon red letter words that transform our lives.
Can you trust him today? Can you open to see the love in the red letter words He speaks to you today?
Remember He is hiding something for you and not from you.