“So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” 1 Thessalonians 2:8
There is a very personal element that needs to go into sharing the gospel. Because this isn’t just a nice story. This is our life. If we have truly experienced the salvation found in Christ, our souls have been awakened and we have been changed. God has chosen each of us to be witnesses to His reality, His truth, and His faithfulness as it is displayed in our lives.
To fill this role of a witness for the Most High God, there is a level of transparency that we are called to. God will give us wisdom in how much to say and when to say it. We don’t need to spill out our entire story in every conversation. But we do need to be willing to let people in to see those parts of our story that we might be afraid to show. The skeletons we hide in our closet. Those memories and choices filled with hurt or shame. There is risk in revealing them. But if, in the midst of conversation, we feel that gentle leading to unveil a bit of our darker history, I pray that each of us will trust God enough to let the other person in. That we will give God the opportunity to be glorified as His faithfulness and grace are revealed in our circumstances.
Perhaps a large part of getting to this point is allowing God to shape our own view of our past. Looking at it through the lens of His redemption and steadfast love. Recalling not only the pain, but the healing, comforting touch of your Savior. Seeing not just the shame, but the overwhelming grace that covers it all. If we have brought it before our Lord, brought it to the cross, He is faithful and just to forgive us. So we must in turn forgive ourselves. It isn’t right to hold something over our own head, believing the punishment we deserve is greater than what we got. Because yes, we do deserve greater punishment. But that’s the power of the cross. That’s the wonder of what Jesus has done. He took it. He bore the weight and the guilt and the wrath of God for us. In Him, we experience grace. Let that reality overwhelm your heart. And entrust your past to Him.
God wants to be glorified in your life. Not just in your life as it is now, but through the darkness of your past from which He has freed you. There is magnificent grace poured all over your life. That is what God wants others to see. He wants them to know that there is hope. That no matter how far away they are, His arm can still reach them and He is still mighty enough to save. So let us share our own selves, not just offer a generic feel-good story. It is the story as displayed in your life that will make all the difference. It is His power as revealed in the miracle He is working in you.