Over the last 15 years, I have been ministering in prisons, with drug addicts and criminals and in some of the toughest council estates of England. Throughout this ministry, I have heard plenty of amazing testimonies about how God has transformed the lives and hearts of some of the most hardened sinners you could meet, yet one of the most exciting and encouraging testimonies I heard came from a young, 18 year old woman.
Although this woman was only 18 years old, she had managed to live a vile, wicked life. When I asked her to share how she became a Christian, she was reluctant and embarrassed, she wasn’t sure what I would think, she didn’t want to embarrass herself, not because of the sin she had committed in her former life, but because, in her own words “you will think it’s boring’.
The reason why she thought her testimony to be boring, was that she had been raised in a church and church culture that showcased testimonies of former drug addicts, homeless, football hooligans, bouncers, and prostitutes. Click To Tweet The testimonies would usually consist of 99% “this is how bad I/my life was” and 1% “then I became a Christian”.
The focus of these testimonies was often on the speakers dramatic lifestyles and then a token acknowledgement of how they said a prayer to Jesus. So when this young woman was asked to share how she got saved, she felt unworthy. She was embarrassed that she was raised in a Christian home, that her dad was a pastor, that she had prayed and read the bible for as long as she can remember, that the biggest sins she had committed was to nip her sisters arm, lie to her mum and pinch a rubber from school.
The saddest thing was that she thought her conversion was boring, that how when she was 12 or 13 she heard the gospel preached at a youth camp and realised that she was a sinner and was as vile, disgusting and deserving of hell as anyone who walked this planet.
To me that was one of the most encouraging, exciting and uplifting testimonies I had ever heard.
First of all, I was bored of only ever hearing about violence, drugs and hardship. It was the story of my life and I was sick of how church culture had created an image of what is a good and bad testimony, I was sick of how certain churches exploit and hold back Christians from certain backgrounds by encouraging them to continually live in and talk about their past. Click To Tweet
Secondly, I was so excited because it reminded me that the gospel is powerful enough to save those who have nothing and those who have plenty, to save those who are anti social and those who are socially accepted, to save the unchurched and the churched to save me the thug and her the pastors daughter, both equally sinful, condemned and without hope, both equally in need of a Saviour; both forgiven and adopted by God the Father.Our testimonies are not about us, but about what Jesus has done for us, that is something we should never be ashamed of. Click To Tweet
“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.
Luke 8:39 NIV