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Not just words

We all probably have different things written on our hearts, don't we? I have been loved, committed to love, and then have had that love broken. The words written then maybe went something like, "You didn't really matter to me", "Your trust wasn't important to me", or perhaps "You weren't what I really wanted." I have been guilty of writing some words there over the years, as well. Words like "You aren't good enough at that", "You won't ever measure up", or "Your best will never make you as popular as that one." Words get 'written' on our hearts as we live life, don't they? Some of them are 'written' there by others and others are recorded there because we write them ourselves. Either way, most of those words aren't really the truth God believes about us. In fact, he goes to great lengths to reveal to us what he has written upon our hearts - the truths he places there are what we might just call "grace writings".

Doing something for you, bringing something to you—that’s not what you’re after. Being religious, acting pious—that’s not what you’re asking for. You’ve opened my ears so I can listen. So I answered, “I’m coming. I read in your letter what you wrote about me, and I’m coming to the party
you’re throwing for me.” That’s when God’s Word entered my life, became part of my very being. (Psalm 40:6-8)

Grace words can very much 'undo' the other things written there by others and ourselves, but does it surprise anyone to know we sometimes take a long, long time believing what God says about us? It is like we find it impossible to believe we are loved in spite of all our wrong actions, selfish motivations, and prideful missteps. We couldn't love another as God loves us, so we measure his love for us against how we'd love others behaving the same as we have. We forget how much work God has gone to in order to erase those words we have allowed to be recorded that aren't really true words about who and what we are! His grace isn't easily embraced sometimes - especially when it comes to 'undoing' whatever it is we have formed or allowed others to form within us as 'opinion' about ourselves.

God's words are kind - they uplift. His words are beyond 'adequate' - they are all-powerful. They are grace words - truth-filled, liberating, and compassionate. They 'counter' the untruths we believe about ourselves - that we aren't worthy, we have gone 'too far', there is no one who will love us. They do more than erase the content of those words - they fill those spaces with words we can rely on, allowing us to stand firm upon them when untruth attempts to come again to fill us with words of doubt, discouragement, or distress. Mom used to tell sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. She was wrong! Words hurt. The stories we tell ourselves 'nurse' those hurts for a long, long time. Words are powerful. They carry life, or destroy it as quickly as they are said, believed, and 'recorded' in the recesses of our memories.

Back in the day, we had chalkboards in the classrooms. I remember loving to be the one to clean those boards at then end of the school day. We had those special erasers that would remove every hint of chalk dust and latent words upon those green surfaces. The boards would be fresh, readied to receive the next day's work and assignments. I would pass over those boards several times, taking those erasers outside and clapping them together to remove the dust from them until they were clean again. I think God has a 'special eraser', too. One he uses upon our lives to erase harmful and hurtful words written upon our hearts. His special eraser is grace. His purpose in 'erasing' is not to leave us 'sparkling clean', but to 'rewrite' the story on the freshly prepared slate! He doesn't just leave the 'board' of our hearts prepared to receive the next words, but he writes upon that clean slate the truth only he knows about us: We are deeply loved, dynamically redeemed, cleaned through and through, and exalted to a special place of honor in his presence. Now those are words worth placing upon any of our hearts! Just sayin!

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