When I was around seven or eight years old, my brother, my best friend and I were playing out in my backyard with one of those red plastic baseball bats. We thought it was a great idea to pair this bat up with a piece of a 2×4 that was laying around. We figured out that if you set the 2×4 up on the edge of the patio with part of it leaning off and then hit that end it would fly up in the air, flipping end over end.
We thought that was about the coolest thing ever, so when it was my turn, I decided to up the ante by setting it on a branch of the peach tree to hit it off a higher point. It was majestic. It flew high up into the air, flipping end over end, and then came plummeting down, straight into my forehead. It didn’t take long for my brother and my friend to know something was wrong, but it took me a moment to figure out why my forehead was getting warm and sticky. Needless to say, I got my first ride in an ambulance that day and ended up with about a dozen stitches that have left me with a now-tiny scar gracing the center of my forehead.
I’m sure that everyone reading this has a scar story, or seven, of their own that they could share. The one commonality among these stories is the lasting mark of an impact that was made on your life.
If you’re reading this, there’s a strong chance that you’ve been permanently scarred, in the greatest way possible – by Jesus. First Timothy 4:12 translates the word “typos” as “example” as Paul encourages Timothy, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” The same word is used in John 20:25 to refer to the scars left in Jesus’ hands from the nails that held Him to the cross.
So use your scars as an example to others and share your story. Whether your scar is fresh or has been with you for decades, Jesus made it clear that this is your job.
Here are three types of people who need you to tell that story:
1. SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T KNOW JESUS
This may seem obvious, but people who don’t know Jesus need to know why and how you came to know Him. They need to understand that Jesus is real, that He makes a difference, and that He can be trusted. A personal story is the greatest apologetic for the truth of the Gospel, and the beauty of it is that you don’t need a seminary degree to make use of it. In John 9:25, we hear the most beautifully concentrated Gospel message from a man who was born blind: “I was blind but now I see!” He doesn’t have all the answers, but he has enough information to point others to the Answer.
The impact that Jesus can have on a life is far greater than merely allowing blind people to see, but making dead people alive. Sadly, each of us will encounter dozens of people each day who don’t know Jesus. Success in evangelism isn’t just counted by the number of “sinner’s prayers” that you lead. Success in evangelism is counted in every step you help someone else take toward Jesus. Maybe your story is exactly what someone needs to take the final step from death to life.
2. SOMEONE WHO KNOWS JESUS
Stories are a powerful tool. Whether they’re crafted into the form of a television show, movie, novel, or just a fish tale among friends, stories demand attention. Even though everyone has a story, we wait with bated breath as we hear someone else’s unfold. As 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
If you believe this to be true, then sharing the story of how God provided an escape hatch out of temptation can be a huge encouragement to others who might be facing the same issues in their lives today. It’s encouraging to hear success stories, especially when you’re in the midst of a crisis and it seems like there’s no way out. If you’re dwelling in the light at the end of the tunnel, share your story to help those behind you on the path.
You need to tell your story for your own benefit. The problem with scars is that they fade. While that may be exactly what we’re hoping for with most physical scars, it’s the worst thing that can happen with your Jesus scar. You need to remind yourself of the difference that Jesus makes in your life. Remind yourself of the person you never want to be again. Remind yourself of the initial joy you had when you were brought from death to life.
Too many Christians forget exactly how great the gift of salvation is because we don’t feel like we’re all that bad. If we’re not all that bad, then grace doesn’t need to be all that good. As the famous hymn says, “how precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.” God’s Grace is incomprehensible… at least while the scar is fresh. Unfortunately, when the mark from our encounter with Jesus begins to fade, so does the awe with which we once looked at it.
Take some time today to remind yourself of your story. If you need help, here’s a guide that I’ve shared within our church to help people tell their stories.