I don’t have a good testimony.
Most people hate it when I say that, but it’s really true. Some people have awesome testimonies and some peoples testimonies are boring like mine. The great testimony goes something like this:
“I was born in a broken home. My father left when I was 6 months old, and when I was three my mother married a man who used to beat me and my little sister. I never connected with my earthly father so even though I had heard about God I could never really grab onto it. In College I tried to get satisfaction through women and hard partying, but I ended up getting addicted to drugs and dropping out of school. That’s when Jesus came into my life and changed everything. From that moment I turned around completely and started living for him instead of myself. I’m not saying everything was perfect. I still had some charges I needed to answer for, but things have just gotten better and better since then. Now I’m a coach for kids like me with no positive male role models in their life, and I know with a surety that when I die, I will go to heaven to live with my real heavenly Father forever.”
Awesome Right? I KNOW!
Mine is more like this
“Sooo, My father was a pastor and I don’t honestly remember what it was like to live without Christ. I do know it must have been quite early because before I could read my Great Grandma used to read me bible stories before bed. In college I acted out by volunteering at a Evangelical church (rather than a Lutheran one) and kissing girls I was not yet engaged to. I don’t drink alcohol because I’m genetically predisposed to alcoholism although I’ve never been addicted. I’m still a virgin, and my parents love me. And when I die I know that I’ll still be chilling with Jesus… pretty much the same thing I’m doing now.”
And listen, It’s not like I regret the choices I made that make my testimony different from the first one above, but I still think we should call a spade a spade, by admitting that my story just doesn’t bring the same tears to your eyes.
Why is that?
It’s not the happy ending, they both end the same way. There has to be something about that middle part that connects with us.
Is it that we relate to the first story more? That could be, but you know I really don’t think so. Most Christians I talk to have testimonies that are more like mine. But we all love that other one.
Is it just that we like stories about sex and drugs?… I really hope not.
I actually think it goes much deeper than that. I think a good testimony conforms to something larger than itself. A plot line that weaves itself throughout all of human history. A story of humble beginnings that leads to devastating consequences which are diverted at the last second and ultimately resolved.
It’s a play in three acts. The problem with my story is that it’s all Act 3. It’s like watching Star Wars, if the whole thing was just the Medal Ceremony. At some level, if Luke doesn’t get stuck inside a giant trash compactor, we just don’t care as much that he has a medal.
I mean really.
Do you care? Because I don’t.
But of course that idea leads to new and even more interesting questions (all the best ideas do). If there is some Ultimate Testimony that all the great testimonies are conforming to… Uhh… Where is it? And what great eternal truth does it hold for us?
I would argue that it’s the story of creation.
That when we tell our stories about our wayward teenage years, we are echoing the corporate experience of the human race. After all, if we could invite Planet Earth to our Altar Call services, what story would she tell?
Well I was born knowing about God, but I decided pretty early on, that I would rather do things for myself. As I was growing up there was a lot of fighting, and some days I didn’t know if there would be anything to eat. Here and there I would hear about God, and sometimes I even prayed, but he was never really real for me. Ya know? By the time I was a teenager I got involved with this gang called the Roman Empire and things really started going downhill. Then Jesus came into my life and everything changed. I mean, don’t get me wrong things were still messed up, but from that moment on the church was a growing part of me, And things have been getting better and better. Now I’m getting to know Christ more and more, and trying to end things like slavery forever. And when I’m finally done with this life, I know Jesus is coming back to finish the work he’s started in me for the Kingdom Of God.
So everything that is repeated individually, is repeated globally. The bible tells me about how I can be saved. But more importantly. It tells us about how we can be saved together.