I don't know about you, but a powerful testimony can speak volumes to my life. It goes beyond any sort of "teaching lesson" to me to go straight to my heart and help my mind make a bee-line to self application. Not only that, but the point of a good testimony is to give glory to the Lord for what He did through His power in a person's life that they weren't able to do in their own power. I love that - and I love the hope that each of us have as we go through very difficult places in our lives that someday these things will be part of our own testimony - and the Lord's glory will be revealed.
This morning John and I had the privilege to hear our friend, Colin, give his testimony - and basically be the main speaker, in all three of our church's services. (to get that straight, he spoke at all three services, but we only listened to one). We were warned to bring tissues as many people came out of the previous services with tears and puffy eyes. It was a good warning. The topics of our church lately have centered around things that are considered controversial - "the church and politics", "spending", "rewards in Heaven", etc - this week was no exception. The topic was "Loving Homosexuals". Colin was asked for a reason - he has struggled with that sin through his life and has been a recipient of the love, grace, and restoration available to those who surrender their lives to the power of Christ. I have heard the testimony before, and was deeply touched and impacted by what he had to say - today, that happened all over again.
I think the biggest lesson many of us came away with is that, for some reason, there's the special "stigma" that Christians tend to put on certain sins as being worse than others. Particularly homosexuality. But, that's not the only one. I have thought a lot about this and posted prior regarding this, but I'll repeat myself again. In the sphere of people I know, here are some of the sins that Christians I know have struggled with:
- sexual relations outside of wedlock
- addictions to drugs
- emotional affairs
- planned attempts at suicide
I tried to pick the ones that would raise an eyebrow - but, they no longer do to me. As these people have admitted and confessed these sins and placed them on the cross with Christ, they have been made new. Now, this is not to say that, for some of them, they don't have to deal with the consequences on an ongoing basis - or that the temptations have been erased. It is a daily struggle for many, to choose the right path, and for some, one that can only be done with constant petitions and prayers for the Lord to help. I was told of one woman in our church who had previously been part of a demonic cult, who now lives a normal life ONLY by repeating memorized scriptures to combat the enemy.
Here's my question - in the Lord's eyes, what does He see when He looks at His children? Is He decieved by the child that has a relationship with Him, does no obvious sins, but only turns to Him and talks to Him when the need arises, when it fits into that person's schedule? Or does he see that person's heart - the secret sins of worry, jealously, judgmentalism, anger, apathy, lust? You know where I'm going - when it comes to Jesus and how He views His children how happy He is to see that child who has become transparent and authentic, just as Colin did today - and how happy He is to commune with Him daily -to have that intimate relationship.
Today, when Colin finished speaking - revealing the details of a life many Christians would stand in line to picket against - our congregation took to our feet and gave him a standing ovation. I don't know if I was more proud of Colin, or more proud of the men and women I stood with. No matter what, I know my walk with Jesus will be stronger because of the courage Colin had today.