Bo Diddley and My Letter of Recommendation
Bo Diddley once sang:
You can’t judge sugar by looking at the cane,
You can’t judge a woman by looking at her man,
You can’t judge a sister by looking at her brother,
You can’t judge a book by looking at the cover…
But I’m not sure the Apostle Paul would agree. He wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:
1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3 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.
People who did not know Paul could look at the Corinthian church and tell a lot about him as an apostle. They were his “letter, written on” their “hearts.” For better or worse, Paul knew that people would look at their lives following Christ and see the results of his ministry. And that was ok with Paul.
Some time ago, I read those verses when Angie and I were away from our children for a getaway in Malta. It occurred to me that Bethany, Joshua, and Jonathan are my letter – are Angie and my letter – known and read by everybody. People in St. Louis meet Bethany and as they interact with her, they draw conclusions about me. People in Amman or elsewhere meet Joshua and Jonathan and interact with them and they draw conclusions about me. Perhaps they don’t do it consciously and maybe not everyone does, but many do.
My children are my letter of recommendation…and I’m ok with that. In fact, it makes me proud to think that people might draw conclusions about me based on my kids – because they are amazing! Each of them loves the Lord and is seeking to walk with him. Each is in a different stage in that journey. Each is mature, kind, generous, friendly, creative, fun, and a good friend. They love music. They love laughing. They are loyal friends. They are fun people to hang out with.
So, if you’ve met Bethany, Joshua or Jonathan but never met me…the truth is they probably make me look better than I deserve…(but factor in how amazing their mother is and then you’ll understand)…I have no idea what twists and turns life will take for my children. I don’t know what choices – good or bad – they might make. But they are my letter, written on my heart, and I don’t mind a bit that they’re read by everybody.