Tom Davis challenges his readers to wake up and look in the mirror, in search of a “little Christ.” He calls us into a world of compassion, lived out through the study and understanding of the “Red Letters” of Jesus’ teaching. This is one calling that is continually falling on deaf ears around the globe. My hope for everyone after reading this is that every passionate Christian will pick this up and search for Jesus in everyone they encounter.
As a youth leader this book needs to be on hand as a continual reminder of how to live for Christ. In a job where this message is essential to not only our own personal relationships with Christ, but stands as a foundation to our calling to create disciples, Red Letters: Living A Faith That Bleeds succeeds in its attempt to show how the world would be a better place through both compassion and hope. We need to leave behind our fears and comfort and replace apathy and silence with action and care towards those that really need both hope and compassion. When reading Matthew 25:41-45, and taking in the words from Davis, there is a clear understanding that ignorance and apathy can no longer be acceptable answers to our stalling in the mission of God, which is to love God, love our neighbor, and to create disciples. In order to be a successful Christ Follower, or promote Christ’s teachings effectively, we need to do one thing correctly: To care for what God cares about.
I truly appreciated the fact that Davis did not stop at charity as the sole answer to the crises that are abundant around the globe. He focuses on the HIV/AIDS crisis and the growing problem of prostitution among the youth in Russia, as they are kicked out of orphanages. We need to move beyond charity into compassion, hope and justice. Biblical justice is a calling to protect the weak from abuse or having the ability to show the love of God in practical and tangible ways. How does Christ accomplish this? He provided us with the Red Letters, and by teaching in short stories (parables). Justice also needs action. Wrongs need to be righted and our lives need to be given over so that we can serve others that are in need. I found this particular statement to be very challenging and helpful, “Learning to live a faith that is so real, you bleed Jesus. Here’s how you start: Look for Jesus every morning in the eyes of the people you meet. And then look for him in the mirror.” Too often, I find myself failing in regards to this calling. Too often, we find ourselves skeptical of those asking for help, when we should in fact be showing the same compassion Christ expects from us.
This is a fantastic and practical understanding of the incredible need there is in the world for “little Christ’s.” Discipleship should be a staple in the job description of any youth or church leader. We are expected to create disciples and followers of Christ and Tom Davis provides here a tangible way to teach, live and act out this calling; compassion and hope that we learn through the Red Letters.