Love Letters to Everybody and to No One

love letterHave you ever written an anonymous note or letter to someone who you wanted to encourage or criticize without them knowing who you were? As a pastor I get them all the time; “suggestions” for how to do church better or how to improve on my preaching. On a more romantic note, when I was in the sixth grade I used to write anonymous notes to girls that I liked and would place them in their desks during recess.  “Dere Betty, I think yur cute. Have a nice day. Yur secret admireror.” I loved to watch them smile as they read the notes and looked around trying to guess who their Prince Charming was. Times have changed… now we have a national movement that encourages the writing of love letters that are truly anonymous; the writer doesn’t know the recipient who, in turn, has no idea who the writer is. Yep— the object loved does not know the lover, and the LOVER DOES NOT KNOW THE OBJECT LOVED. It is a movement known as The World Needs More Love Letters project, founded by a young 20-something named Betty (just kidding). Interestingly, the national project team is composed of 20-something women who are very caring people and who love to write. These are not the gushy love letters like I used to write in sixth grade, but are notes meant to anonymously encourage anonymous people randomly.  You can go on their website and check out some of these notes left at various public places like Starbucks, train stations, and rest rooms (just kidding, again).  Here is an actual sample: “Dear Stranger, You are loveable. You have potential. You have value. You have worth. You have so many marvelous traits and someone somewhere will be the recipient of what you can offer. And if we ever met, I’d gladly help you. I know these are all clichés, but they are also true. I hope you know that.”  I can just imagine a guy sitting in Starbucks planning a bank heist being greatly encouraged by this letter. OK, I may sound slightly critical here, but I think that while this kind of project sounds nice it is also very sad. It is sad to think that we live in a culture so starved for meaningful relationships that we could be encouraged by a letter not meant for us written by someone who does not even know us— like, being encouraged by a fortune cookie.  My inarticulate anonymous love letter in sixth grade was designed to go like a deer slug straight to Betty’s heart. These present day articulate love letters are like bird shot designed to hit whoever happens to be in the area. (I realize what I just said is very much a guy analogy.) I am so thankful that God’s love is not the bird shot kind. “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me…For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…How precious are your thoughts to me, O God” (Ps 139). God knows me completely and yet He still loves me. And this is how God showed His love for me, that He sent His One and Only Son into the world to be the atoning sacrifice for my sin (I John 4:9, 10). “Isn’t it odd that a Being like God, still loves the clod, He made out of sod? Yes, isn’t it odd”? Odd, yes, but it is also quite amazing. Do not be satisfied with anonymous love. Instead of spending time writing letters to people you don’t know; build relationships with the real faces of the unloved. Love them as you have been loved and then tell them about the quite amazing and everlasting love of God in Jesus Christ.

One thought on “Love Letters to Everybody and to No One

  1. Chris Neilsen

    I so love how you used scripture to show God’s love for us. He intimately knows each and every one of us and cares so deeply for those He has created. I feel we respond to those we know with encouraging and sincere letters prompted by the Holy Spirit. It becomes like an outpouring from God through us to the other person. People are then blessed by God the Father while knowing that God uses others made by Him to bless them, creating community in Christ. I think anonymous letters are somewhat lacking the human and personal touch and can in some cases be considered superficial. Just my thoughts on this. Thanks Dave! I so appreciate you and the staff at CF. Jim and I have been blessed many times by notes and letters from the church and we appreciate and love you all!

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