Thursday, September 15, 2011

Have Mercy on Me, Lord, A Sinner

I've been thinking a lot about testimonies lately, the stories we tell to share how we were saved, but more importantly, what we were saved from. I have some conflict in my heart about the nature of testimonies. Certainly what we often think about while hearing someone's story of salvation is related to the depth of the sin and depravity, and the amazing knowledge that somehow that person was yet saved after all, from the depths of their sin. Certainly the Bible tells us that Christ died for all, but in our humanness sometimes we tend to imagine that certain sins are past forgiving.

But the aspect of the Christian testimony that has bothered me lately has been the idea of the Christian testimony often doing a little more glorification of the sin than the savior. I think of a program I went to see once at a very flamboyant church where the message was all of the glory of the world, and the Christian was the dark, quiet, unassuming...I didn't understand why the sin had been made so appealing and by contrast, the spiritual was so dull and boring. It didn't seem like an appropriate message for evangelism. I disagree with the idea of selling Christianity for its greatness, but it cannot be contrasted with such brilliance. The true contrast cannot be shown between the two worldly existences at all, but between the two post-worldly existences. How else could it be done properly?

Perhaps my complaints in this area are overly sensitive, but I can't help but think of these things in some cases. Sometimes I simply think that the Christian testimony spends a lot more time talking about all the sin that came before, when in God's eyes, sin is sin, regardless of its extent. He died to save sinners. End of story. Our testimonies should be to God's glory, not to ours. We shouldn't magnify our sin as if our salvation was better than another's because of what we've been saved from. After all, we've all been saved exactly the same. We've all prayed, "Have mercy on me, Lord, a sinner," and to Him, we are all the same.



  1. Sometimes I would rather just not hear about the person's former life. I knew a man who came from a life full of depravity, full of evilness and satantic worship (no joke, full on satan-worshipper) and he told his story to bring glory to God. His circumstance practically required that he share where he came from, to prove that God does conquer the devil. That said, a lot of times it almost seems like the person is bragging about their former life. And that's what I don't like. I don't care where you come from or what you've done. I care about where you go from here. I also think that your experience may have been isolated as I don't see this happen often. Folks at my church do not glorify the sin/sinner in the testimony. Valid concerns!

    1. Well, it wasn't MY church, it was one of those crazy, flamboyant churches. I've just noticed Christians seem more overwhelmed with grace to the biggest sinners, and it's important to note that we're ALL filthy sinners who deserve's isn't a matter how far we've come. I think there's a place for rejoicing over how far someone's come, but those who have never really been off the path so far shouldn't be LESS overwhelmed by grace.