I wonder if the apostle John, after he sent off his letters to the seven churches, wished he could rewrite some of them?
All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and John was in the Spirit when he was told what to write. But might he have entertained a writer’s human doubts?
I once told Chuck Colson that he had spoken deeply to my heart and soul. “That was a powerful message.”
He quickly said, “No it wasn’t.”
“Well, yes, I was really blessed because—”
“No, I didn’t say this…,” Colson said. “I should have said that…”
The Holy Spirit had used greatly in my life a message Colson thought was poor.
I’ve second-guessed some of my writing. Though I felt I wrote what God had told me to, and certainly I prayed as I wrote, might God have used it in the lives of my readers, despite that I later questioned myself?
As John lived in exile, writing to the seven churches about critical situations the believers were facing, did he ever think, I should have said this, and I didn’t say that?
Did he realize as he wrote that he was being inspired by the Holy Spirit? He could not have known he wasn’t writing just to those congregations, but to the church for centuries to follow.
More Than Our Words
The Holy Spirit may be speaking to readers even through words you suspect you expressed poorly.
It’s human to entertain doubts, even when we’ve done our best. But it doesn’t matter so much how we feel about our writing. What matters is what God does with it.
Roger Palms, a longtime Guild mentor, is the former editor of Decision magazine and the author of 15 books and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles.
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