Storytelling

So here is a thing I am noticing as I spend time around people – we are story tellers.  And when we tell stories, we often make ourselves the hero of the story.

We are the put upon hero who has to overcome all kinds of “evil” ranging from diabolical coworkers to incompetent service industry people.  We are the tragic hero struggling valiantly against a deck that is stacked against us and circumstances beyond our control.  We are the flawed hero who made a mistake but was totally justified in it.  We are the valiant hero who stood up against something.  We are the hero who is unjustly and undeservedly defeated but will eventually conquer.  Or we are the conquering hero who triumphed and put the other person in their place.  And so on.  I guess this is natural in some sense.  I know I do it.  But…

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I wonder if this gets in the way of our evangelism efforts.  I wonder if in the process of sharing our faith we fall into the habit of making ourselves the hero of the Good News story and forget to make God the hero.  That would be tragic.  The story where I am the hero offers little hope and at best people will say, “Good for you.”  But the story where God is the hero, well that is Good News for everyone.

I heard this most recently as a person shared their testimony.  They kept talking about all the things they had overcome and all the changes they had made.  They mostly left out what God had done.  And used the phrase, “With His help,” which kind of makes God the sidekick.  I don’t think this was intentional.  I think they were really trying to shine the light on God but like the rest of us, they fell into this storytelling habit we have.

Now, I know some will raise the objection that we don’t want to overwhelm people with too much “God talk”.  Granted.  But He is the hero of our stories and we need to tell them that way.  It is not how far we have come and what we have overcome.  It is all about God, His love, His mercy, His grace and His forgiveness.  We need to make sure that doesn’t get lost.

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And maybe the person I heard assumed we would all give God credit for what they were talking about.  Fine.  But we can’t assume that people will give God the glory when we are talking about ourselves – because they won’t.

We need to tell the story of what God has done in our lives.  We need to talk about the changes He has made.  We need to talk about His love for us.  But we need to make sure we are making He is the hero of our story.  That’s the Good News we are called to share.  Just a reminder for all of us, including me.

Marc McAlister

Director of Church Health, FMCIC

 

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