"In many cases, a healed wound may leave a scar as a reminder that successful healing has taken place." -American Counseling Association
Every last Saturday in May marks Global Outreach Day, a day followers of Jesus around the world are challenged to share their faith with at least one person. The challenge often seems daunting with many believers never having shared their faith before for a plethora of reasons including fear of rejection or fear of saying the wrong thing or doubt that we are qualified or equipped to do so. For the longest time so many of us have left the Great Commission, the call to tell the whole world about Jesus to people with titles or in full time ministry.
How often we have shied away from sharing our faith with unbelieving family members, opinionated friends or strangers. Religion has often been a touchy subject so in a place of comfort, we have often gone about life, carrying a cure but withholding it from a lost and dying world.
For the longest time, I didn't want to share my faith because I wasn't a theologian and I was scared of saying the wrong thing. I wasn't equipped with all the verses. I wasn't like the people I heard who knew chapter and verse. Granted, I know now that as you continue to follow Jesus and follow His Word, that part eventually comes. I heard someone once say, ‘No one can take your testimony from you.’ No one can argue out the experience you have had with the Lord, of freedom, forgiveness and healing. No one can tell you you weren't once an addict that got set free, no one can tell you you didn't battle with fear, anxiety or depression and found peace in Christ.
This year's Global Outreach Day, if you are not sure where to start in sharing your faith, start with your testimony.
Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and put out your hand and place it in My side. Do not be unbelieving, but [stop doubting and] believe.” Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:27-28
Your scars tell a story
Jesus modeled an example for his followers by revealing scars to the doubting disciple. "Reach here." "See." The ability of people to have a revelation of the Lord, because you showed scars. For the first time, someone may believe they can start again and that there’s hope for them. Over the years, I've sought to learn different characteristics of a saving and healing God from other women who were bold and vulnerable enough to reveal battle scars from different seasons of their lives. I listened to women who boldly shared their testimonies, from addictions to abusive relationships, depression to suicide attempts.....and I found so much freedom. I began to truly believe in the power of God and that my best days were indeed ahead of me. Their past scars spoke to my then-present wounds.
I looked at their scars and my wounds and knew that if Jesus did it for them, He could do it for me too.
The wound is where you are now, the scar is where you will be as you follow Jesus and allow Him to set you free and heal you. When you don’t know where to start in sharing your faith, start with your scars, start with your testimony.
Our scars bare witness of the existence and power of the Lord our healer, our deliverer, our Savior, our Prince of Peace.
Different scars, same Savior
We all have different kinds of battle scars from so many things we have been through. They are evidence of specific things that have taken place that have been healed. The scars from a bike accident, an appendix or kidney operation, from a fire or a cooking accident, from a gunshot or stabbing all have specific differences. All scars look different but though different are all evidence that some kind of healing took place.
Spiritually, we all are fighting different battles, carrying varying infected wounds. All wounds look different. Somewhere in the world is someone with a scar from a healed wound that looks just like yours. Wounds from abused as a child or an adult, from addictions, to alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, same sex attractions, pride, selfishness, hatred, jealousy or wounds from severely broken family units. From past abortions, depression, suicide attempts, from the pain of losing someone or something, from health battles. We all have battled with something at one point or another.
All over the world, are people ailing, carrying wounds , thinking no one understands them, that no one has ever messed up as much as they have or no one has ever been through what they are going through. They may never have heard anyone reveal the place they were once wounded, never revealing their scars. Consequently, people live defeated and hopeless, never having heard witnesses of Jesus, our Living Hope who helped them come out on the other side as an overcomer.
Your specific scars may not mean anything to everyone but they mean something to someone who has walked where you have walked and doesn’t believe they will ever heal and recover. Has God ever forgiven, healed you, delivered you from something? Sometimes we don't share our faith out of fear of not having the right words for someone or doubt that they will even listen. We put more trust in our own words than in the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us who does a far better job of ministering to the person we are sharing our faith with.
We put off sharing the Good News of what God has done for us, postponing someone else's freedom until we have the right words to say.
Our testimonies sometimes speak louder than our eloquent quotes and well constructed theological messages.
When we share our testimonies, someone gets to say, "Look. There’s someone whose wounds look like mine, they got through what I’m currently going through. If God did if for them He can surely do it for me."
You are proof someone needs
You are living proof of God because of the Living Hope on the inside of you. The God who saved you, changed you, healed and delivered you. You carry evidence of a loving God. Sometimes we get so comfortable in our salvation and healing and over time, with or without knowing it, we cover up our scars in acts of righteousness and all people see is the perfect Christian life they can’t achieve.
Yet beneath the clothing of religious acts are healed wounds that would show people a lot more of our humanity and God's divinity.
In the vulnerability and boldness it takes to share where we once were, we get to come off the throne of righteous acts to where people are. We get to reveal our scars. We get to say, ‘See, I’ve been there too. I know what you are dealing with because I dealt with it too.’
Their soul is as valuable as yours and their eternity is just as final as yours
Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Love your family members, your colleagues, your cashier at the store, your waitress at the deli. Sometimes we hold the attitude, ‘I’m a Christian, I know I am found in Him, I know I have eternal life.’ We have insurance as believers because of the blood Jesus shed on the cross. It covers us and speaks for us. How easy it is to walk about life, knowing that we are covered and become indifferent or disinterested in other peoples insurance. Love doesn't let another burn. Love says 'I care about your soul as much as I care about mine.'
Eternity can start in any second for anyone
Eventually, we will all take our final breath on earth and be ushered into eternity. The Bible makes it clear, both eternal life with God and eternal death and damnation exist. In any second of any day, anyone's eternity starts. Years ago, spiritual mentors taught us to pray daily,
"Lord, show me who is on their last stop before hell, and give me the boldness to share the Good News with them."
This Global Outreach Day, share the message of Jesus Christ, our living hope with at least ONE person. Your first time to boldly step out and share your scars, give a testimony and reason for the hope that you have may be the last time for someone to hear it.
Sometimes the scariest thing you will ever do, is show your scars. Like Jesus, show your side, show your hands. Show the sides that Jesus died for and resurrected in you. It may help the masses, it may help the one. And that one matters to Jesus. Praying that God may give you a fresh awareness of eternity, a heightened burden for lost souls and for the boldness that comes only by the Holy Spirit to overshadow you.
Love always protects
But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 1 Peter 3:15
As you step out and share your testimony, it may be privately in the four corners of a room in an intimate conversation with a family member, or a friend or for some, God may begin prompting you to to write, film or publicly speak about where God saved you from. Love always protects. Protect those involved in your past, pray for the words to share your testimony with grace, gentleness and kindness without condemning the people involved. Chances are, the person or people involved in the story are not believers yet and are just as lost and in need of a Savior. They may not have encountered God yet as you have. Protect their identities, do not condemn them or speak lowly of them. If we are not careful, we can cause already vulnerable people to feel exposed, judged, condemned and rejected by Christians and by God. They are just as lost as you were, just as in need of a Savior and just as deeply loved by God.