Proofreading & Pats on the Back

As an English teacher, I edit a lot of papers for people. It isn’t always students in my classes. Often other individuals bring me things to edit or help them with. I don’t mind doing this for people, and regardless the item I’m proofing, I always treat them the same.

A while ago a paper was brought to me for proofing. It was accompanied with the request to ‘Check this over before I send it out to people.’

With purple pen in hand I went to work and corrected the document using proofreader’s marks. Later that day I returned the marked up document to it’s owner.

“Hey! You wrote on it! I was going to copy that and start mailing it out.”

I paused. A little tremor of shock passed through me as I processed that response.

I thought the individual wanted me to proof their paper…correct their grammatical errors, strengthen their points of emphasis, tighten up the loose nuts and bolts…

Surely I hadn’t just offended this individual simply by doing what they asked?

I wanted to look at the individual and ask, “Did you want me to proof your paper or simply to pat you on the back for it?”

This situation happened a good while ago…not anything recent. However, it came to mind today after I received a “thank you” from a different individual I had proofed something for, and I have to wonder, how many times do I carry my paper to God, ask Him to proof it, and come away offended by all the changes He wants to make? Do I really want Him to proof my paper or am I looking for a pat on the back?

Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.

1 Peter 5:6-7 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Hebrews 12:1-11 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your soul. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

God edits my “paper” in order to bring holiness to it, so that it may yield fruit. He is the AUTHOR and FINISHER of our faith.

I don’t get to write the paper. I don’t get to edit the paper. My line edits will be acknowledged. He’ll even let me live them out…free will and all. However, the words He has penned for my life are CORRECT.

The words I keep trying to pencil in are simply rough draft words…clutter…words that will need to be edited out in order to find perfection.

Cast all your cares…the big, the small, the in-between…on the Lord. I know this.

He cares for you. What does this mean? God will be handling my problems today. He doesn’t need my purple pen or my help. He just needs me to hand Him the paper, let Him do the work, and say “Thank you.” when He hands it back with the necessary adjustments for me to make.

God wants to help me just like I want to help others. I have to be humble enough to accept the help.


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