An Open Letter

I don't recall ever writing an open letter before. I'm referring to a letter written to an individual, but publicly published. Nevertheless, I'm going to do it now. The catch, however, is that I am not going to identify the person I am writing to. He or she will know upon reading it. And I am told that the person to whom I write reads my blog. In this case, I especially hope so.

Some of us have the misfortune of being born into a family with a true gift for screwing up lives and making big mistakes. Everyone in the family has done it, and the only question is how long did we continue and how badly did it impact the rest of our lives?


I have long thought that there were striking similarities between you and me. Remember the time, long ago, when you blew up some sort of homemade device in the garage? You wound up in the hospital with a burned face. And your response to your dad was to explain that you thought you knew what you did wrong.

There was no concern about the danger or the fright to your family. Only analysis of what went wrong. Back then, you looked a lot like me, and I thought you acted a good deal like me, as well.

I have the dubious honor of leading my family - I guess I'm the "patriarch" now, right? - in childhood rebellion and making dumb, costly mistakes. I have missed some very nice opportunities in life - the Air Force Academy is one - and have left a trail of broken relationships and hurt people.

In fact, I probably hold some perverse sort of record, and I consider that, from age 12 until far into my adult years, I mostly threw my life away. Little good to show for it.

One great gift, I think, is some person or event that causes us to stop and consider our life. What have we done? What sort of legacy do we leave behind? What will someone who knew us write about us when we are gone? "He had fun" doesn't really cut it, but that's the apparent focus of many lives. Very often, that gift comes in the form of some deeply traumatic experience, something that rocks our boat, nearly to the point of capsizing.

You are at a point of crisis. I don't know - neither do you - what the depth of this time will be, nor what the outcome will be. It may turn out to be a minor bump in the road. Or it may be the end of the road.

You have a fine mind and great talent. I urge you to consider whether you are investing those in something important, something that will last forever.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that you support a Christian organization that works against slavery and human trafficking. Very commendable. I, too, have invested in the success of similar efforts.

In looking at a course for the rest of life - whether yours or mine - I look for ways to invest in people. I don't care a great deal about collecting toys or satisfying my whims. I want to know that the world will be just a little bit better because I was here.

I urge you to consider your own life, and what has come from it so far. Then, consider what you can plausibly expect to come from the remainder of it, and after it ends.

You know of my firm belief that a life lived without God is by definition a life that cannot have ultimate success. Such a life is in the final analysis focused on self and what satisfies our selfish desires. Emptiness. But a life lived with and for the one true and living God of the universe! Ah, that's a far different story.

I strongly commend it to you.

7 Comments

I think that is an open letter that I need to write to myself. I remember a time when I was in my teens and my passion was to leave a legacy of investing in people. When I got older, concerns centered on making sure my husband and I were taken care of. Even though I try to keep God at the center of my life, I fail more often than I succeed.

The thing I value most about our friendship is that your intensity and passion for God always brings me up short and makes me think about what is really important.

It is a natural human behavior to take inventory on the lives of people around us. The only successful means of leading is to lead by example not by dictation. Some of us have found our own way or our own calling. What we forget is that what works for us doesn't work for others. Some of us play it a little safer than others, but we need to remember that a lot of progress in the world has been made thanks to those who dare to take the unbeaten path. Thanks to these extremist personalities a man decided to stand outside in a thunderstorm and now we have phones. Now we know things like the world isn't really flat, and the atom isn't the smallest element. Thanks to those who step outside the boundaries of conformity slavery has been proclaimed inhumane and abolished in our own country.

Extremist aren't always healthy in our immediate lives. If a danger exist then we are at liberty to hold strong boundaries to keep the negative effects of their presence at bay. That is why they are some of the loneliest people in the world. In a room full of people they still feel alone. Practice patience and hold strong boundaries. If they learn to respect your boundaries you will know their presence in your life is sincere. Lack of respect for your personal boundaries shows a lack of respect for you and all you hold dear. In which case don't feel bad. What isn't meant to be will eventually be a memory, and you will have no remorse and no regrets.

Every theater has a projector...

Seems a man of the clothe and such righteous moral fiber would talk to the person in question instead of using it to promote his own brand of theology.

Maybe you need to review Matthew 7 advice on hypocrites and remove the beam from your own eye before worrying about others, to wit: 1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Scriptures are paradoxical. Resolve this o wise one:

First, John 20:19-23:

...Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." ...The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained."

How does this balance with Matthew 7?


Um……….

And what, specifically, is your concern with these two passages? Matthew 7 covers many topics, and is from earlier in the life of Jesus, before the resurrection. John 20 is after the resurrection, and shortly before the ascension. I don't know what your question is. Care to elaborate?

Larry, Very articulate letter you wrote....as per usual! Very logical......as
per usual. I just don't feel much of the grace and mercy and love of our
heavenly Father reaching out. Just a bit of arrogance and
sarcasm.........not so much like our GOD's grace and compassion for lost
souls. I implore you to turn the mirror towards yourself! Fall to your
knees and cry out to your heavenly Father for His forgiveness and beg
Him to humble you and give you a heart of compassion for the lost souls
in this world. ESPECIALLY for those who are of your blood and
genetics!............but, GOD does care about each and every lost soul, be
they highly intelligent, arrogant, humble, poor, weak, rich, poor, black,
white, male, female............I think you get my drift. Lost souls were
never won with sarcasm, criticism or arrogance. The Bible says to
humble ourselves. That means you and I! So, in following that Biblical
advice, I apologize if this offends you, for I would never want to offend
you (any more than I have in years past), but we serve a GOD who uses
the weak to confound the wise. May GOD bless you and keep you! With
GODLY love, Phyllis

Phyllis,

Thanks for your comment. I am puzzled at your thoughts, however. I have read the open letter over several times, and I can assure you not a word was intended as sarcasm, nor as disrespect. Can you please be more specific in your criticism? I am apparently not seeing what you are.

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  • Larry Baden said:
      Phyllis, Thanks for your comment. I am puzzled at your thoughts, howe...
  • Phyllis Evans said:
      Larry, Very articulate letter you wrote....as per usual! Very logical...
  • Larry Baden said:
      And what, specifically, is your concern with these two passages? Matth...
  • Bob said:
      Scriptures are paradoxical. Resolve this o wise one: First, John 20:...
  • Joe Entropy said:
      Every theater has a projector... Seems a man of the clothe and such r...
  • Rebecca Shields said:
      It is a natural human behavior to take inventory on the lives of peopl...
  • Norah said:
      I think that is an open letter that I need to write to myself. I reme...

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