Fingerprints. Unique in all of the world. One of a kind. Your fingerprints are yours alone. Fingerprints are so unique that they are used to identify both victims and criminals. Every fingerprint you’ve ever left marks a place where you were, what you touched and perhaps what you did.
In a more metaphorical way we leave fingerprints all over people, too, and they leave their prints on us. Parents, siblings, friends, spouses, kids — those we come in contact with are touched by our words and actions. We leave a mark on people. And they leave a mark on us.
Sometimes fingerprints are like scars, as in rejection, abuse, violence, bullying and such. Sometimes fingerprints are a delicate touch like a butterfly alighting on a flower. Whichever the case, we get to choose how we will leave our prints on the world around us. When you are at a restaurant (remember when you used to get to do that?!?) what fingerprint do you leave on the person who serves you? What about strangers you pass on the street? Do you ever consider leaving the fingerprint of a smile or friendly nod? It doesn’t take a lot to leave a touch of warmth on another human being. Perhaps more importantly, what prints are you leaving on those closest to you?
Think about your fingerprints. One of a kind. They are unique to you. No one else can leave your love, support, faithfulness or trust. You and you alone are on your life path and bear your unique character and influence. What fingerprints do you want to leave? Today you get to start fresh. Choose it.
And what about the fingerprints left on you?
What can we do about the hurtful, shaming or scarring fingerprints that have been left on our heart and mind? How do I erase the fingerprints of my abusive grandfather or abandoning father? What do I do with the fingerprints of friends or teachers who embarrassed, hurt or shamed me? First of all, I’m sorry, truly sorry for the pain you’ve suffered at the hands of others. Those fingerprints are like unwanted tattoos. While they may be permanent in the sense that they did happen, they need not define who we are today.
You and I were created by a good and loving God who has good for us. He promises that. It doesn’t mean that we don’t face hard things – that’s just a part of being human. But He does promise that even the painful and difficult stuff of life, when placed in His hands, can ultimately be worked for our good. That doesn’t mean its ok that difficult things happen, just that they need not define and cripple us. This has been my experience with every challenging season of my life. God is good and can redeem brokenness.
I encourage you…and me…to acknowledge and release the painful fingerprints left on our heart and mind. Whether through abuse or disappointments we can let go of the things that want to mark us. I am so grateful that there is a way to be free of painful marks that want to define us. Its simple but it isn’t easy: acknowledge they exist, forgive the perpetrator and release them to God. It’s time to clean unwanted fingerprints. It’s worth it. Acknowledge. Forgive. Release.
Lord, I want any fingerprints I leave on others to be tinged with grace and to be a thing of beauty and not pain. That requires a whole lot of You in me.
Ecclesiastes 10:12 Wise words bring approval, but fools are destroyed by their own words.
Ephesians 4:29 …Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
Romans 12:10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
Ephesians 4:32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Colossians 3:12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Galatians 6:10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Matthew 5:14-16 You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
Isaiah 50:4 The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will.