This morning, I woke up with the burning desire to share something on Alethea’s Mind, it’s been two weeks since my last post. I’ve been preoccupied with different things: from preparing for a theatre production for an evangelical program called Festival of Life to writing a script for a Domestic Violence Short Film, shooting in two days, editing in one night and premiering the next . . . I sure have been busy.
But Alethea’s Mind cannot suffer, so the Lord sent ravens with bread for the hungry. As I looked through the memories for today on Facebook as I sometimes try to do (to check if I have been either wise or foolish in the past), I came across a four-year-old post that stung my heart like a bee, I knew I had to share it here. I have made a few edits, not to tamper with the message, but only to reflect my current writing style.
(Thank you Lord for providing this blog with your word every single time, I surely can never do it without You!)
So dear reader, I hope you find something within these words to enlighten your heart.
July 17, 2014
Today’s Our Daily Bread reading caught my attention (Here’s a link if you’re interested in checking it out). After reading the commentary by Cindy Hess Kasper about buying a pair of sunglasses not because they protected her eyes from harmful UV rays but because they looked good, I must agree that my thoughts about the idea of presenting a front just to look good haven’t changed much. Here are my thoughts which are very much in line with Cindy’s.
The Bible which we read every day is a collection of true stories of real people who walked the earth like we do. Their lives, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, have been laid bare: their victories, their defeats, their triumphs, their failures, their strengths, their weaknesses, their ups and their downs . . . Everything about them, thrown out there for us to judge, emulate, criticize, celebrate and even ignore.
We shake clenched fists against Adam and Eve for eating the fruit in disobedience to God’s command; we shake our heads when we think of David’s greatest mistake: taking another man’s wife and killing the man on top of it; we feel sorry for Job and take comfort in his story and how things turned around for him; we agree with Paul when he said, “. . . the things I want to do, I do not do, but the things I don’t want to do, that, I do”, and we certainly feel in touch with him because that’s our story too.
Then I ask myself:
“Why do we all walk around like we don’t have stories to tell?”
You may squint at my question, but hear me out by considering this verse of scripture:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
We now live in a world where we all have become infallible. Where ‘men of God’ are mini-gods bigger than every temptation; and I, as far as I am concerned, am always right. Check social media and you’ll see that no one does anything wrong and we all live without sin and struggles but only ‘in the eyes of the next man beside us’. Unfortunately, not many get comfort from the fact that someone went through, and has come out so we can do same too. We only tell our beautiful stories, those ones where we come out looking like saints, or where our brother was the sinner in that case. No wonder when pastors fall into some kind of sin, it becomes big news for the tabloids, after all, they should never have been able to sin in the first place, they never said they did anyway.
I’m looking for ways to write this exposition without using too many words, but I don’t know if I’m hitting the nail on the head. The message God is passing to us today is this: be an encourager with everything that you are. We will all leave this world and everything behind, there is no shame for a man who falls and rises again; if he gets one person to rise up with him.
To make this a little clearer, I’ll share a personal story.
It was one of those night vigils on campus, but this one was different for me. I sat in the congregation angry at someone who had hurt me terribly. As I sat there feeling heavy, I knew God wanted me to let it go, but in a manner that would only leave me feeling embarrassed. I just couldn’t do it.
Leaving my seat and walking towards the rear of the hall, I fell on my knees and told God that there was no way I was going to do what he wanted me to do. It was a difficult task, and if He didn’t mind, I would pass. But the feeling never left me. So I made a deal and said to Him that if the host the service gave room for people with testimonies to share, I would get up and do the assignment. For sure I knew we were running out of time, and there actually was no slot for testimonies. But God had a mission for me, and even if I wanted him to send a shooting star, He would, just so I would do it.
The time came for the service to end and I was super excited, but just before saying the closing prayer, the host paused and said he felt an urge to allow for a few testimonies.
I sat there stunned but stubbornly unmoved, till I felt the nudge like a sledgehammer. Eventually giving in, I walked out to the front shaking like a leaf and began to tell my story. I told everyone how I was hurt by someone who was in the audience and how heavy I felt carrying the grudge. I told them how it would take some miracle to forgive him, but my confession was to expose myself, having spent the whole night pretending to be in worship. I announced my guilt and promised to let go of the hurt never to return to it ever again.
Yeah, it was a very odd testimony, but I felt relieved after all. It was only as I had returned to my seat that I knew why God had pushed me out there in the first place. Every other ‘testimony’ after mine was one person after another confessing a grudge they had been carrying, saying that if I hadn’t come out to share mine, they would have gone back with their hurt.
I felt God smiling.
He used me to lead the way out of the tunnel of grief towards the light of relief for others.
Your triumphs and testimonies are not for you alone, neither are your weaknesses and struggles. In the body of Christ, we are to bear each other’s burdens and spur ourselves to victory. The next time you go through stuff, there might be someone going through the same a minute after you, so don’t hide. Let your life’s story be another’s anchor. Be an encourager like the men and women of the Bible.
And the next time someone falls, be careful not to judge, you might be the next person flat on your face.
BE AN ENCOURAGER!
As I read this piece again, my heart is drawn quite fondly to the community of bloggers I have found myself in association with. People like Stuart L. Tutt, Gail, Stefan, Caralyn, Nduta, and so many others, who pour their lives out like wine to soothe wounds and restore confidence and comfort hearts, through their own stories of hurt, failure and grace. I celebrate you all. I really do. Not many are bold enough for this cause, but you have availed yourselves as willing vessels that God is using to save lives.
This post, I dedicate to you all.