This morning I checked my mail box and found this anonymous hand-written note that someone had dropped in our offering plate this past Sunday:
“The song leader does not know how to end this LONG service, my last here. (Frown face).”
How do you handle anonymous notes?
Step one: read them.
Step two: consider their content.
Step three: throw them away.
When someone takes the time to talk to me in person, call me, or write me a letter with a concern, comment, or criticism, I take it very seriously. While I might conclude that what they’re saying shouldn’t cause me to change my course, oftentimes this is the way God chooses to bring needed correction or insight that I would otherwise miss.
But when I receive an anonymous note like this, I don’t take it seriously at all. Since I am given no context to help me in considering (1) who is speaking, (2) what they’re saying, or (3) why they’re saying it, I am not able to discern whether or not this is the Lord speaking to me or just an angry person being angry.
I need God’s discipline, whether I like it or not. And when I need to be disciplined, God will do so out of love (Hebrews 12:6).
So even if an anonymous note might have a shred of truth in it, and might have something I need to hear, if its content is angry or unclear or hurtful, then it belongs in the trash. God will not communicate his loving discipline to me in a way that is mean spirited.
This isn’t to say that God’s discipline is pleasant. “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it”. (Hebrews 12:11) As I said earlier, oftentimes a painful conversation, phone call, or email will be the way that God chooses to speak something to me that I need to hear, whether I want to or not.
But his discipline won’t come in the form of angry scribbled notes in your box on a Tuesday morning. He’ll find another way and you’ll be able to recognize his voice. He always signs his name.