As a Pastor, I get to hear numerous people share stories of faith in their lives and the lives of others. They share their experiences in conversations, on social media, and in front of those gathered for worship. Lately, I have noticed there are two distinct types of stories that people share with others.
- Stories about Failures. Everyone has a time that they have failed God and been sinful. Often, we share these tales to let people know that no one is perfect, as if we had any doubts. The other thing these anecdotes do it lower the bar on righteousness. If we share stories about how someone failed, then we feel better about the struggles in our lives.
- Stories about Faithfulness. These are little pictures of moments where we saw someone live up to the high calling of following Jesus. We share encounters that let us know that faith can be practical if we put our minds to it. When this type of tale is told, it helps to raise the bar on righteousness. If we share stories about how someone lived a Godly life, then we know it is possible to live a better life.
This observation has led me to listen carefully to the types of stories that people tell repeatedly. Many times, people share encounters that lower the bar, so they do not have to push themselves in their faith. Other times, people share accounts of people living in extraordinary ways to push other people to live in a more Godly way. Our narrative of faith often reveals more about us than it does about Jesus.