Monday, 27 March 2017

Do you have a 'boring testimony'?

I used to think that being raised in a Christian home and not having had a time in my life when I went (outwardly, openly) AWOL gave me a 'boring testimony.'  I was always amazed at stories of people who had been drug-dealing, gun-running, bank-robbing, biker gang members (or even just had given up on the faith and walked away from God), but then God's grace reached down and grabbed hold of them when they had sunken to their lowest and brought them back, like forlorn prodigals returning to the loving father.  Thanks to some mature mentors in my life, I long ago quit seeing the testimony of those whom God's grace has preserved from straying as any less an act of mercy than God's many dramatic rescues of out-and-out rebels.  Of course, in neither case can people take credit for their walk with or return to God.  It is God's gracious love for both the wayward son who returns and the older son who has always had the father's love and blessing that gets the credit.

Reading St. Augustine's Confessions a few years back, I came upon a passage that says it so well.  (The Confessions are written as an extended prayer to/conversation with God.)
What man who reflects upon his own weakness can dare to claim that his own efforts have made him chaste and free from sin, as though this entitled him to love you the less, on the ground that he had less need of the mercy by which you forgive the sins of the penitent?  There are some who have been called by you and because they have listened to your voice they have avoided the sins which I here record and confess for them to read.  But let them not deride me for having been cured by the same Doctor who preserved them from sickness, or at least from such grave sickness as mine.  Let them love you just as much, or even more, than I do, for they can see that the same healing hand which rid me of the great fever of my sins protects them from falling sick of the same disease.
                                                                                     - Confessions, Book II, Chapter 7

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