I love being a part of a church where we can all admit to one another without fear of judgement where we hurt, in what ways we are broken, and how we struggle from day to day. We have people in our body that are dealing with or have dealt with problems surrounding poverty, addictions, adultery, abandonment, abuse, homosexuality, lust, fornication, murder, stealing, lying, and everything in between. But in the middle of this group of people, there are also men and women who were born and raised in Godly homes. People who have never been drunk, never done drugs, waited until marriage to have sex, who have had a lifetime of Bible teaching, and people that have lived not perfect, but good, holy lives. Lives that have been blessed from top to bottom.
So when I hear these Christians who have done well to strive for righteousness make comments implying that their stories don’t matter, THAT makes me sad. It makes me sad because in our efforts to be welcoming and nonjudgmental to people who are often judged harshly, I wonder if maybe we have inadvertently glorified the sin that comes along with a powerful story of redemption instead of glorifying God by contrasting the consequences of a sinful life with benefits of a holy one.
Your testimony may not be standing in front of the church and talking about how God brought you through the dark point in your life when you were drunk and in the gutter. But your testimony MAY be how following God’s word stopped you from getting there in the first place.
You may not be able to witness to the parents of an addict and say, “I know where you are coming from.” But you CAN witness to the moms and dads who are trying to raise Godly children and reassure them that with the proper training, it IS possible for a child to go through life and not go off the deep end.
You may not be able to tell the teenager with multiple sex partners that you used to be just like them, but you CAN speak to the teenage boy or girl who is still a virgin and let them know that saving yourself for your spouse was the best gift you ever could give to them.
You may not be able to connect with the newly converted adult whose primary struggles come from trying to overcome tough sins of the flesh. But you MAY be very able to see eye to eye with the person who was raised in the church their whole life and struggles daily with complacency or discouragement.
Many of us who have pasts that include things that seem to be a little rougher or dramatic, can often be heard saying things like, “I wouldn’t change a thing about my past. It brought me to where I am today.” I’ve said it myself. But in all actuality, I’m not sure that’s true. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t choose to sin against a holy God whose only desire is for me to be holy as well. I wouldn’t choose to make decisions that could have led others down paths of sin that may lead them to hell. And I don’t think God looks back on those times and says to himself, “Hey…I’m really glad she did all of those terribly awful things.” I DO think that God can take whatever bad things we’ve done and use them for his glory though.
So if you are a person who has followed God to the best of your ability your whole life, don’t apologize for it. If God has blessed you with good health, a good family, and financial success, give Him the glory for it, don’t hide it. If you've not battled an addiction, you have a healthy marriage and well behaved children, and are able to use money God has blessed you with to bless others, don't feel guilty about it.
You’re not saying you have been perfect by telling others how blessed you are. The Bible says that the way of the transgressor is hard, but you...YOU are an example to everyone around you that following God is, indeed, the better choice. YOU are the light in the darkness that we should all be holding up as an example of Godly living.
If you belittle your success in the Lord, that light is going to be a lot more difficult to follow.