Should you leave the pain out of your witness? No way.

pain-7

The grace of God is an amazing thing.  The forgiveness of sins blows my mind.  The love of true Christian brothers is inspiring.  The words of the gospel… wow.  This is all amazing stuff.  And it brings a lot of people to Christ like a magnet.  But there is another side of Christianity that it tough.  A side that’s dirty.  Painful.  Wretched.  Embarrassing.  Hard stuff.  Messy stuff.  Should we leave that stuff out of our witness?  I argue that it should stay, at the right time.

I have introduced people to a relationship with Christ by delivering the good news.  But not many.  But far more often I’ve had to first connect with them on a deeper level.  To be blunt, the good news is SO GOOD that it can kind of be hard to believe, right?  You need to have the trust of the person you’re speaking to and often that involves connecting on the tough stuff.  Are you a perfectionist?  Do you struggle with addiction?  Ever been hit by a car (or seven of them like me!)?  Ever tear down your relationship with your mom and have to rebuild it?  I can connect with you.  And you all know my position: Step one is to connect.  Step two is to bring someone to Christ.  It’s not the only way.  But it’s my way.

This is tough stuff, but this tough stuff is in my life for a reason.  These are the doorways through which I meet people, connect with them, show them that inside this Christian is a real human being that is battered and bruised.  I’m not the wistful daydreaming optimist who only believes in Christ because he’s never seen darkness.  No.  I found Christ right square in the middle of the darkness where I needed him the most.  People need to know that.  People need to know that Christ did not come to save the perfect.  As he said himself, if you’re not sick, you don’t need a doctor.  I’m sick, and in ways that others can relate to.

Back in the day I used to race bikes.  And I worked at a bike shop.  I sold a lot of helmets.  Why?  I rarely described the features and benefits of the various helmets.  Helmets, like salvation, don’t seem entirely necessary until it’s too late.  So I tell them my story about when it was too late.  I tell them about surviving with about seven minutes to spare all because I was biking without a helmet.  I let them touch the dent in my head where to this day I still have a hole in my skull that will never heal.  And they buy the helmet.

Why?  Because delivering the good news of helmets has its limits.  You need a key that fits into the slot of this person’s life that you’re talking to. And my painful experience of nearly losing my life over something as simple as a helmet makes that connection.  I needed that pain to be able to connect with people.

And trust me when I tell you that salvation is more important than helmets.  (Although depending on your helmet use you might need salvation a bit earlier than you thought!)  So don’t ditch the tough stuff.  At some point, the people in your life need to know that Christ is not just for those who have had a smooth road.  These difficulties have been placed in your life for a reason: to act as connectors to other souls who very badly need to hear your story so they do not feel alone in theirs.

Don’t clean it up. The messy stuff is what connects.  And connection is the first step toward creating a new believer in Christ.  Be proud of your pain and use it as the key into the lives around you who need to understand the amazing grace of our Lord.

Having a tough time telling the tough stuff?  I get it.  I’m used to it.  But it was really tough at the beginning.  Shoot me an email or leave a comment and we’ll work on it.  Baby steps my brothers and sisters.

james.d.voigt@gmail.com

We were built to be heroes.  It’s about time we started acting like heroes.

Photo credit: bandita / Foter / CC BY-SA
Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Should you leave the pain out of your witness? No way.

  1. Thank you James, so very True, Paul did not profess to have always been a goody goody or that his life was smooth sailing for him, even as a Christian he was afflicted. Yes life does happen and it is not always Happy Clappy, it is sometimes very painful and we suffer, but God is with us as we go through it (Isaiah 43:1-3) of course we know that it is not Him who afflicts us for whatever reason….

    Lamentations 3: 33 For God doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

    But we do reap what we sow in evil untill we come to heart repentance and we can be hurt by those who are fleshy, also our world is fallen and has danger but Satan too afflicts us to put us to the test hoping we will reject Jesus, the unforgivable sin but not one of us known by God as His, will be lost Eternally, He protects our soul, He knew we would repent and accept the free gift of Salvation even before we were conceived, He knows all things and He knew that we would also show that we had been saved as we are being conformed into the image of Jesus, having put our flesh to death by The Spirit and being perfected in Love.

    To save more detail here James, my link below spells it like it was for me before Jesus rescued me, His lost sheep, entangled in addiction and sin, wanting to die, believing I was not worth Loving … just because we belong to a Church does not mean we have found Jesus but also it does not mean if we have failed that He has not found us.

    Rescued- http://freedomborn.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/jesus-rescued-his-lost-sheep/

    Christian Love from both of us – Anne.

    Like

Please leave a comment. I read all of them!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s