Often times when we tell a story we are involved in, we tend to leave out the parts that shines a negative light upon us or at least take some of the edge off the parts about us. Even if we don’t have a problem telling the truth, it can be so easy to leave out details which have us looked upon negatively. It’s only human nature. Most of us have a big enough problem with our own self-image on our own, we don’t want to add to it with other people’s snap judgments. I think we do it because at the time of our retelling, the number one focus is ourselves. It’s kind of like self-preservation at least socially. We want people to see us favorably or to a certain extent from our view. If we leave in all the negative stuff about ourselves, they may not see things our way.
Most of the New Testament can be broken down like this: Ordinary flawed people who love God, trying to spread the nuggets He dropped in their heart. Have you ever given much thought to the fact that the disciples of Jesus looked like some of the most fair weathered Christians we have ever seen. They were constantly doubting, messing up, and just flat out missing the point. Moreover, these were men who got to spend countless hours with Jesus in the flesh. They had the most extreme access to the Savior. How many times have you ever thought how amazing it would be to just sit down and talk with Jesus for a while? What do you think you would ask Him? These men did that for the better part of three years. Despite this fact, their flaws are clearly on display throughout the Bible. Why would they do that? The answer is pretty clear. In their stories, they weren’t the most important thing. Jesus is. If they wanted to gloss over some of their character flaws, it would have been easy. After all, these were the same men who were strong enough to face persecution on a regular basis yet still pointed people to Jesus. How often are we willing to look past character flaws when someone’s intentions are good, yet the writers of the Bible didn’t seem to negate anything.
I am a flawed person. I have made more mistakes than I even dare count. I have ran zealously after God and seen some pretty amazing things. I have also sat under a Juniper tree wishing it would all end. Quite often, those two events were not very far apart. I have jumped without looking. I have doubted. I have questioned. I have run the other way when I shouldn’t have. I have run headlong into a wall and I have even hurt those around me for reasons I often don’t understand myself. Yet, I love the Lord. I want to be used for His service. I want to be a productive member in the house of God. I want to see God use us as His hands and feet.
How differently would our church services be if we were honest for just 10 minutes? Not just passive honesty. I am talking about soul barring unadulterated honesty. I am sure it would be quite chaotic. Things will be brought out in the open we never dreamed of. Issues we have been sweeping under the rug for so long would be in plain view. There would be hurt feelings, heart-wrenching agony, but there would also be a chance for healing. It seems most people I have talked to who don’t go to church, decide to abstain because of the fakeness they see inside the walls of churches. A lot of these people aren’t coming to see “the show,” or even for curiosity. They are coming because they are hurting and are looking for something. Pain has a way of showing us what is really important. You probably wouldn’t worry about your cracked iPhone if you had a knife protruding from your leg. We are called to be “More than conquerors,” but if all we are doing is putting on a brave face, we aren’t really overcoming anything.
Paul states in 2nd Corinthians 12:9, 10, “but he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” You see the writers of the New Testament had little problem pointing out their weaknesses because they were not the main focus. Jesus is. They knew if God was going to get the greatest amount of glory for what He had done in them, they needed to be transparent. Even with their flaws.
So often, we come to Christ and give Him our past, walk with Him in the present, and place our hope in His future promises, but we forget what He brought us through. If you read the Old Testament, every single time God did something for His people, they built an altar to remind them of what God did. What has God done for you? What has He brought you out of? It seems we have little trouble telling people where God is taking us, but we often times have trouble being transparent with what He has brought us through. Your story may not be pretty. You may have done some things you regret. I know I have. However if God has brought us through them; if God is going to received the glory, we need to be more like the writers of the New Testament. Transparent. Obviously, you wouldn’t just throw out information about yourself in situations where it is not warranted, but there is definitely times when some of the battles God has brought us through will be a great encouragement and maybe even a deterrent in someone else’s life.
There is an old hymn called “I love to tell the story.” It says, “I love to tell the story of unseen things above, of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love. I love to tell the story, because I know tis true; it satisfies my longings as nothing else can do. I love to tell the story, twill be my theme in glory to tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.” Your story is only your story and to have its greatest effect, it needs to be told by you. You never know how your story will impact the kingdom of God if you don’t share it. Your mess may be the one thing that serves as a tipping point for someone to trust Jesus. Learn to love your story because it may be messy, and it may be hard, but it tells of Jesus and His love.