If any of you have received a note, letter, or e-mail from me, you may have noticed something unusual about it. I normally begin my correspondence with the words, "Dear....." "Dear Jim, Dear Sally, Dear...." It was how I was taught in English class and it is the way I have addressed letters and notes all of my life. I don't know why it changed, but somewhere along the way we dropped the "Dear" out of most of our correspondence. When I noticed it a few years back I decided that I was not going to change. I decided I was going to buck the trend and still use "Dear...."
Now, I have to be honest and say that sometimes I am tempted to drop the "Dear." In this day and age it seem too friendly, too intimate, too kind to be appropriate. Instead we substitute a "Hi" or "Hey" or maybe just use a first name, "Bob".
Why? Why did we drop out the "Dear...."? I am not sure, but I am afraid that it is simply part of a world that has grown less loving and more course and rough. We are a people that glorify power and position, violence and immorality. Maybe "Dear...." seems just too sissy today. The thought of calling someone "Dear" makes us nervous and seems somehow inappropriate. It is, after all, a term of affection, and we can't show affection for each other - can we?
I am going to continue to use "Dear...." in my correspondence. It is a gentle term of respect and affection, and I don't think there is enough of that in our world anymore. There is too much emphasis on the negative, too much misapplied power, too much cold, business-like attitudes, and too much indecency to maintain a healthy society. We need to simply show more love, be more kind, act more decently, be more respectful...just like Jesus did/does for us...just like Jesus asks us to do in His stead.
St. Paul summed it up like this:
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Don't forget there's homework:
+ Do you write "Dear" when you correspond? Why, Why not? What does it say about how you feel toward others?
+ Ask God to help us reevaluate our attitudes, and learn to value whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
+ Ask God to give His eternal comfort all who suffer and grieve, grant to them the precious life and love of Jesus.
Don't forget to check out the latest sermons and bible studies at HopeWarren.org.
Jesus is our Hope!
+ Pastor John