Posted: November 25, 2013 in Theology

If I share the truths I’ve come to know without sharing the struggles in my life they have answered, it may be helpful. Maybe. But what might happen unintentionally is that I might appear more holy and clever than I really am since, “Wow, he has such wonderful insights.” Consequently, in the ears of those who hear, the sweet truth that brought me such life may land as just more “rules for victorious living.” What was grace to me may land on others’ hearts as mere law: “God is holy. You aren’t. Do what I did. Try harder.” That’s not the intent but, for some reason, that is often the impact.

But if I share truths as well as the struggle or weakness or mistakes that correspond to them (which often requires a measure of risk and transparency on my part) then the Gospel is shown in connection to real life. Suddenly there is someone talking who, “Like me!”, is tempted and even stumbles in many ways. Somebody the rest of us can relate to, in other words.  People will say, “Here is a Gospel where God is the hero, and I get to believe and receive help in time of need.” I know that it feels risky (even embarrassing) to preach this way, but it seems to guard the Gospel as our answer instead of people trying harder as the answer. Of course we want to be better people, but “try harder, do better” doesn’t get us close to God. “Repent and believe the good news,” does!

In the first way of speaking, you look good and God looks good too, I suppose. But in the second way of speaking, you look accurate, and God looks amazing. The first way of speaking causes people to think, “Once I’m a better person, I’ll be able to do what this person is saying.” That’s not life and it doesn’t make for transformation. The second way actually connects grace to real life sin and weakness in the speaker, and therefore in the hearer. The second way of speaking offers hope, enabling faith to step out and believe, bringing down God’s grace for change.

Be brave and humble, and speak the truth. Other people need both sides of your story – your weakness, and God’s salvation.


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