By: Lisa Wilmore
Scripture Reading: Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.” When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.
Then Paul said: “I am a Jew,… I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.”
“About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?’ “‘Who are you, Lord?’ I asked. “ ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied (Acts 22:1-8 NIV).
My Christian Friends,
One important aspect of our daily walk with Christ is that he has given all of us a testimony. The fact that he brought us out of dark situations that would have been detrimental to us is something to tell the world. Is it difficult for you to share with others your past failures and mistakes? Do you close your lips and present yourselves as faultless without troubles?
In the mentioned biblical account, Paul is vigorously defending himself by sharing with the Jewish crowd of his conversion. He confesses that he persecuted the church. He acknowledges their sincere motive to kill him as he had done the same to Christian leaders, prior to his Damascus road experience with Jesus. Like Paul, we must be willing to share our mistakes and struggles in order to connect with others. In Paul’s case, the people began to listen but failed to truly accept his message. Nevertheless, we must try, even if people do not understand our past mistakes.
Most recently, a relative of mine wanted me to counsel her due to issues that were pressing in her life. I must admit, her request literally took me by surprise. During our dialogue, her plight was recognizable. I noticed, she was dealing with some of the same issues I had dealt with in my past. At first, I was afraid to open up to her. But, as the conversation continued, I braved-up and shared with her how God changed my life.
Sharing your story with others is risky; however, the risk is worth it if individuals walk away knowing that God is awesome.