The Power of Punctuation

If you were to ask me what my favorite punctuation mark was (And why wouldn’t you? It’s a great conversation starter) my answer would be fast and simple.

I love the … aka the ellipsis, aka dot, dot, dot.

Really it’s my favorite punctuation by far (side note: the parenthesis is my second favorite).

The ellipsis is fantastic.

Depending on their context and placement in a sentence, ellipses indicate an unfinished thought, a slight pause, and nervous or awkward silence.

Ellipses are the ultimate cliffhanger.

They give people a chance to pause and think.

They also allow the reader to fill in the …

Periods are so final. So certain. So abrupt.

The ellipsis allows room for interpretation and for exploration.

The difference between the two punctuation marks is two tiny dots, yet it’s a VERY big difference.

The period ends the thought.

The ellipsis… leaves room for more.

Life is full of moments that require both.

Sometimes we all need a good…

At other times a definite ending is required.

I’m so glad God offers me truth that ends in a period.

I am loved. He accepts me. He cares about me. He has a purpose for my life. I am forgiven. I am chosen.

Just think how challenging Christianity would be if those statements were followed by…

I am loved… only when I do good.

I am accepted… once I get my crap together.

I am forgiven… if I beg.

I am chosen… because there were no other options.

Jesus offers me certainty. I am loved, forgiven and cared for.

Jesus also offers plenty of…

Philippians 2.12 reminds us to, “Continue to work out your salvation, with great fear and trembling, because God is energizing you so that you will desire and do what always pleases Him.”

The key is knowing when and where to apply the period or ellipsis.

For years the church has switched them.

We’ve said to the world things like:

You’re a sinner. You’re wrong. You’re a mess.

Then tried to sweeten the message by saying:

There’s hope… if you work for it.

We’ll accept you… if you change some things about yourself.

Life can be better… if you do things our way.

THIS IS NOT THE GOSPEL.

The gospel is good news.

The gospel is Jesus saying:

I love you. I forgive you. I accept you.

Why?

Because of what Jesus has done.

Christians need to stop holding signs like the one on a major intersection by my house.

“Repent or else…”

What kind of message is that?

It reads like some weird form of Christian bullying.

A more effective sign would read:

Jesus loves you.

God smiles when he looks at you.

God is well pleased with you.

Thankfully I grew up in a home where certainty of how my dad felt about me was available.

He told me he loved me. He told me he was proud of me. He demonstrated these things.

God offers humanity all that certainty and more.

Let’s use our punctuation properly.

Quit leaving awkward pauses in random places… it freaks people out.

Let people know how much God loves them.

We’re not forgiven…

We’re forgiven.

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