Do you think your story is worth telling?
I believe the answer is emphatically “Yes!”
God tells us about Himself through stories. Most of the Bible is stories about real people in real circumstances who struggled and failed and got it wrong more than they got it right. God’s own story comes to us through tales of people and their relationships. (How Important Is Right Theology?)
I’m thinking there’s a message there, that God’s choice to reveal Himself through human stories might be telling us about the best way to tell others about Him. Maybe people learn best about God through the stories of His people.
I operate from the premise that a story is worth telling if it brings people closer to Jesus. In a non-church setting it’s worthwhile if it helps listeners embrace His principles even if no religious terminology is involved. I can talk about love, respect, and forgiveness in any context.
If I’ve learned anything through talking to people about the story of Relentless Grace, it’s that “everyone has a story.” And I believe those stories are worth telling, if …
I’d like to spend a few posts talking about the “if,” because I think we can tell our stories in ways that are more or less helpful to others.
TELL THE TRUTH
A story that’s a lie won’t be helpful to anyone. That might seem sort of obvious, but apparently it’s not. I’ve heard, and told, stories that include intentional and accidental untruths.
Many Christians seem to believe that they can only talk about the victories, the good stuff, and the instances in which things turned out just right. They fail to acknowledge the struggles, failures, and weaknesses. These folks seem intent on portraying life as an endless progression of roses and sunshine.
Even tragedies are quickly transformed into celebrations. These stories are Hollywood movies—in one scene a horrific loss occurs, and in the next scene everyone’s happy. Injuries and illness miraculously disappear, grief and pain are compressed into a few seconds, and then the violins reach a happily-ever-after crescendo.
No one benefits from stories that relate this sort of impossibly false perfection. Reality includes conflict, pain, and doubt. Look at the heroes of the Bible—God didn’t tell us only their triumphs. In fact, we often learn more from the struggles of people like King David.
I’m not suggesting that we ought to manufacture problems, because the real ones are all to plentiful. But you do no one, including yourself, any favors by hiding behind a freshly scrubbed, Sunday morning façade.
A more subtle deception happens through an unintended choice of words. An example: “I’m thankful for the experience of cancer and chemotherapy.”
I don’t believe that. I’ve watched both of my parents and my best friend struggle through horrible deaths from cancer. I don’t believe anyone is thankful for that kind of pain. I’m certainly not grateful for the “opportunity” to watch their suffering, just as I’m not thankful for the pain and loss associated with my injury.
I am, however, abundantly grateful for the many things God has taught me through those experiences. I do not believe my injury was necessary for me to learn, but I believe God works for good even within tragedy (Romans 8:28)
My principle for story-telling is Grace And Truth (John 1:14). If you tell the truth with grace and love, then I believe you take a step toward a story worth telling.
What’s your take? Have you found that telling your true story helps others?
We encourage you to share your story with us!