Do you ever think about how important it is to share your stories?
To tell other people, “On my own, I’m kind of a mess, but let me tell you about what Jesus has done in my life”?
We live in a culture where people share lots of things very openly – social media allows us to share the everyday details of life in a much more public way than ever before. But lots of those details end up being surface stuff.
Do you ever share the deeper stuff? I think that’s the stuff that needs to be shared a lot more than it is.
There’s a story in the Bible (Luke, to be exact) about a man who was possessed by demons. He was completely incapable of living a normal life – he ran around naked, broke chains with his unnatural strength, and lived in a graveyard.
But one day Jesus came along, wasn’t scared by him, and told the demons that they had to get out. They didn’t like that idea, so they came up with a different suggestion – they requested to be sent into a nearby herd of pigs. As a result, the pigs went crazy, and ran over the side of a cliff into the lake. End of demons.
The man was a big fan of Jesus after this, for obvious reasons. He wanted to follow Jesus wherever He was planning on going. You’d think that Jesus would be okay with that, seeing as He already had a bunch of men traveling with him. But Jesus said to him, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.”
It was more important for the man to go home and tell his story than it was for him to go with Jesus. That was the role that Jesus wanted him to fill.
And then the very next story is the one about the woman who was bleeding for 12 years. She reached out to touch Jesus’ cloak, and was healed instantly.
When she touched Him, He stopped and asked, “Who touched me?” He knew that someone had been healed by touching His cloak. But being Jesus, wouldn’t He also have already known who it was?
I found it really interesting that Jesus made her step forward and publicly announce that she was healed. He made her tell her story to all the people there.
Some people boldly asked for healing, but this woman quietly reached out to touch Him as He walked by. The whole thing could have gone on unannounced. But Jesus stopped and asked her to identify herself.
Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
Why did He do that? In the presence of all the people…
I don’t know for sure what all of the reasons were behind it, but I do know that something happens to us when we share. When we tell people what Jesus has done for us.
There are times when I really don’t want to. It makes me look bad when I air my dirty laundry for everyone to see. There’s a part of me that is always, always afraid that people will look down on me, and think I’m pathetic, or maybe I’ll end up actually being the only person in the world who thinks such immature, selfish, sinful thoughts. And if I share the whole “Before and After” story, I’m afraid that people will get stuck on the “before” part, in which I look ugly, rather than the “after”, in which Jesus looks fantastic.
But guess what has happened almost every time I’ve chosen to be open and vulnerable? Someone else has been able to identify with my experience, or gotten the courage to open up too, or been encouraged to keep going when things are really hard.
Good things happen when we share our stories. But we have to be brave, and not listen to the part of us that’s afraid. We have to trust that if Jesus thinks it’s a good idea, then good things will come out of it.
Have you ever had a great experience that happened because you were willing to share your story?