A few years ago I had read a book by a well-known Christian author and speaker in which she shared the horrible circumstances she had been in prior to finding Christ. She had been an unwanted child, produced under the worst of circumstances, abandoned and placed for adoption. Unfortunately the home she was placed in was not a much better situation. She did not know the details of her story until she reached adulthood yet there had always been that sense of being abandoned and unwanted. It was a heart-breaking story, until she encountered Jesus Christ.
Her story inspired her to reach out to women who have been brutalized, disgarded and abandoned and eventually she formed an organization that rescues women who find themselves in prostitution and slavery. She also travels around the world proclaiming the Gospel, the message of hope all of us so desperately need to hear.
I was therefore stunned this morning to read a review of this book written a few years ago by a woman. The reviewer wrote about how she had picked up this book expecting that it would be about her and instead it was about the author. Huh? In fact, she even went so far as to call the author egocentric because the first part of the book was the author's story and the remaining part was the lessons God had taught her through her life experiences and how we can apply those lessons to our own life when we are feeling overwhelmed, tired, afraid and hopeless. The book is a message of hope and encouragement but this woman just could not see it. In accusing the author of the book being "all about her", the woman writing the review revealed the truth which was it was all about her and she had zero interest in the testimony or stories of others.
I find that sad and could not help but leave a comment. You see, unlike the reviewer, I love to hear the testimonies of others. I am deeply interested in hearing what God has done and continues to do in the lives of others and I love to share what He is doing in my life as well. I do not view this as being egocentric. I believe this is exactly what Jesus commanded us to do. We are to be witnesses of what God has done and that is more than just merely sharing the Gospel story. It involves being a witness, giving an account in our own words of what we personally have seen and experienced. After all, that is exactly what a good witness does, right? That sounds like a testimony to me.
How can I be silent about how God saved me. How can I be silent about the times God has healed me? How can I be silent about the times He has intervened on my behalf or provided for me? To do so is not about me, it is about Him and to be silent would be like, well, ungrateful and just plain wrong.
Yes, there will be some people who will be like that woman. They will criticize you for sharing your chapter of God's story. They are not interested in hearing it and may even try to make you feel bad and convince you that no one is interested, you are bragging, people are tired of hearing about it and so forth. Do not listen to these naysayers. Never grow tired of sharing God's story!
Over the years I have read some amazing stories on CB. I have read of healings and miracles. I have read stories of people who despite being in terrible situations are able to persevere through Christ Jesus. For them, 2 Corinthians 4 is not abstract, it is reality. To these people I would like to say, do NOT stop sharing your story. God speaks to us through your stories. He uses them to teach us, speak to us, encourage us and help us. Never stop sharing your story.
You're absolutely right. It takes courage, as well as a talent for writing or speaking, to share these difficult stories. The people who do so are to be commended for it.
My eldest boy loves to listen to a rap about evangelism by Lecrae called "Tell The World". It has a line which, for me, says it all: "I'm a billboard". Our lives are billboards for Christ, for what he has done for us.
There are other songs by Lecrae, not so child-friendly, where he talks about the problems he has overcome through Christ. I've read horrible comments and reviews about these which say similar things to what you've mentioned: "all about himself". Some go further than that, saying they are "a bad influence" because he talks about sin. And yet young men are hard to reach, because they often feel they have done terrible and disgusting things which are somehow beyond God's love. If the naysayers get together and decree that nobody is allowed to share their story, it makes it harder for others in the same boat right now to see the way out.
Yes, I think you make excellent points here - Go and tell what the Lord has done for you is a special commission that some Christians have received, and they should not be discouraged from doing so.
God bless and thanks,