Just out: Between 81% and 90% of U.S. adults are either “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their life. And a large swath of them feel that way without Christ.
Our evangelism should take into account that in a growing secular society, the majority of the population do not cry themselves to sleep in spiritual despair. They don’t perceive they lack the answer because they don’t feel there is an unanswered question.
One lesson: Everyone wants a testimony that makes grown men shed tears and brings the young people to their feet. But let us avoid the siren call of making our story more “picante” than what it really is.
We have all heard the stories that, “My life was pure grief, I was lost, I was wasting my life.” Or perhaps, “I used to be a member of thus-and-thus religion and it was a complete deception.” (And yes, some of these people HAVE been down this road.)
But if we actually knew these same persons B. C., well, many of them weren’t reporting that they were miserable. Or shopping for a new religion.
We do not need to aid the Lord by making our story more lurid than it was. For many, a more accurate account would sound something like this: “My life was okay, or at least I thought so at the time. I was one of the 81% – 90% of U.S. adults who were very or somewhat satisfied with life. But once I found Christ, and looked back from that vantage point, I realized that what I had thought was acceptable was but a pale imitation of true existence.”
For many of us it’s truthful – and maybe even helpful – to tell the world how it really was when Christ came and saved us. That up until that moment it didn’t seem like we would be rescued from horror, but redeemed from good-enough.
ADDENDUM: The layperson might not realize this, but scholars usually interpret Paul’s testimony: NOT that “I was totally lost, depressed, aimless, but then I found Christ.” But rather, “Christ revealed himself to me, and ONLY IN HINDSIGHT did I suddenly come to see that everything was trash compared to what I now had in Jesus.”
“Brother, let me tell you my story!” by Gary S. Shogren, PhD in New Testament Exegesis, professor at Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica
Thank you Gary! I had to reread this post several times to let it sink in. It has been so hard for me to formulate a personal testimony because my life has seen no hardship or OBVIOUS sinfulness. It’s been rather boring, drama-wise. But this describes perfectly the mindset I have. I feel I can build a personal testimony on this idea. Betty
Betty, hi! Great to hear from you! Glad it was of help! Gary