When I was younger I would listen to people talk in youth group and share their testimonies. It felt like only the “dirty” stories got shared. The worse your story, the more you were wanted as a speaker/leader/mentor.
They were so looked up to as the “heroes of the faith”… and it almost felt like the average person was “just” saved. No big deal, their stories weren’t worth sharing.
I remember thinking that my story was too neat and clean. I wanted some dirt, because clearly that’s what the church wanted. That’s what was looked up to and so I wanted some… yet in my heart I couldn’t bear to disappoint my parents of people around me. I was the “good girl” and I knew it would break their hearts if I was anything else, yet this desire still grew.
I dirtied my story up… a lot. As in a lot a lot… and now I know why the dirty stories were shared, however, I can’t help but think that we have it wrong.
Isn’t a “clean” story worth sharing even more than the “dirty” stories? If a testimony is “neat and clean”God’s grace is what kept it that way!
What if we stated focusing more on the story of the cross and how it has changed our lives and how it makes us new than how much we have done? How far we stretched before we felt the jealous tug of our savior?
I go to school with thousands of people who are looking for something different.
I also go to school with thousands of people who are looking to “taste the world” or “sow their wild oats”… why?
If we are trying to not miss out on the world, experience all it has to offer, have we really ever gotten the cross? Have we truly gotten grace? Have we truly experienced the all encompassing love of our savior?
Somehow my gut response is no.
Sin is fun. Sin is alluring. Sin is tempting…. but at the end of the day, sin is ugly. Sin is destructive. Sin is full of regrets.
I am so thankful that I now get to wake up in the mornings and not regret the last 24 hours.
I’m so thankful I get to walk with my head up and engage in conversation, without needing to cover up or make excuses for my choices.
So I ask you and I ask myself: Did you get grace? Did you truly see the cross when you were living in such sin?
For me the answer is no.
Was God my savior? Yes.
Was he Lord of my life? No… and that caused me to loose sight of the cross. To loose sight of the love and grace, and that affected every ounce of my life.
So I go back to my original point: Why are the dirty stories glorified?
The “good girls” and “holy boys” are so looked down upon, and yet they are my heroes.
They were able to trust that what God said is true, they didn’t have to test it.
Do I know more about forgiveness than they do? Probably, because I’ve experienced much.
But we all have strengths that we bring, and if it took a dirty story to get me to a place where I was a useful tool in God’s hand, then I’m thankful for all the regrets, for all the scars, and all the pain.
We all have a story.
May we proclaim it boldly as beloved sons and daughters who have been bought with a price… because “dirty” or “clean” our story is centered on a cross.