Reckless words are like the thrusts of a sword, cutting remarks meant to stab and to hurt. But the words of the wise soothe and heal.
Prov 12:18 (TPT)
BLOOD AND STORIES - PART FIVE
We don’t conquer others with our testimonies; we don’t testify of our experiences and beliefs to overcome the experiences and beliefs of others. We conquer the evil that seeps into our own hearts and lives with what we know to be true about redemption, faith, hope, and love. Even with what hope to be true about those things.
As John calls him in Revelation 12, “The deceiver of the whole world” tells us his lies; he impresses upon us that hatred, marginalization, misogyny, greed, revenge, lust, hopelessness and more, are our only options. But our experiences with Christ, and the way his story becomes ours through blood and the work of the cross (more on that tomorrow), our testimony enables us to overcome the deceiver's advances in our own lives and helps us choose love over hatred, peace over anger, and hope over greed.
Our testimony reminds us to choose the way of Christ over the way of the Deceiver. Our lives testify to the power of that choice either way.
Yes, please speak your truth, tell your story, protest and stand up and let your voice be heard. But when you sit with someone who is full of all kinds of trouble or heartache, or when you see something blogged about or a status on Facebook that you don’t agree with, rather than using your testimony as a weapon or a tool in the face of these things, let it whisper to your heart soft reminders of what you know to be true about compassion, kindness, strength and hope. Let that reminder influence your presence in the situation. Strong, bold, compassionate, humble.
There will always be a time to talk about the things God has done for you and your convictions. They are a part of your story, but not your story in its entirety. A huge challenge the Christian world is facing is that our entire story is becoming about who and what we are against and who we do not agree with, rather than a complete story of compassion, wisdom, presence, grace and redemption. Continual and ongoing transformation.
Part of the deception is that we can beat someone into believing what we do by forcing our beliefs upon them. But usually, this just pushes people further away. And it stinks of pride, arrogance and perceived superiority. We get caught up in telling the whole world who we are and what we believe rather than just being who we are and believing what we believe.
There’s a quote on the wall above my desk that says, “good stories tell themselves.” The story of your life will tell itself, don’t jam it up with too many adjectives.
Be present with others, hear them, witness what they’re going through, just as Christ does with us. And in this place, fellowship and connection flow, stories are exchanged by experience, not just words. And the deception and lies that eat away at our hearts and the world are conquered day by day, moment by moment.
Story by story.