Our stories are powerful. YOB exists with its popularity today because we share our stories. Jesus, the Great Teacher, told stories to the masses during His earthly ministry.
There’s an old hymn that says: Tell me the story of Jesus . . .
Stories have power, and people love them for it.
As such, that power can misused. The power of a story can be wielded in a way that causes untold damage and pain.
It’s not even the choice of the person in the story either — it’s those who hear it and retell it who can twist the truth of the story for their own purposes.
This reality didn’t set in for me until recent years.
As I’ve done more and more to reach LGBTQ+ individuals outside the church, I’ve had to face a stark reality: Christians have abused select people’s stories to the detriment of the Gospel.
A decade ago, I would have thought that stories were the key to outreach. After all, didn’t Exodus International, an organization built on stories of change, thrive because it demonstrated the power of God’s redeeming power?
Hundreds of people, thousands even, were changing and finding salvation and freedom. This was all by the power of God!
Then, Exodus collapsed. New stories were told. These stories held great power as well and showed a different picture: change was faked, marriages were forced, and hopes were dashed to pieces.
The stories then pointed different directions. They fought with each other, debunked each other, and left the listeners confused and lost.
Looking back, I wonder why the answer wasn’t more obvious to us. Why did we assume that, in response to stories leading us astray, we should use stories to redirect us?
Now, please don’t hear me saying that sharing our testimonies is wrong. By no means do I believe that.
But for what purpose do we share our stories? So others can follow what we did? To demonstrate that a certain path is possible — even preferable?
Or should we share our stories to demonstrate that Jesus Christ longs to be present in every story, no matter what it is?
Exodus’ greatest sin (out of many) was not its telling of stories — it was in saying that this story of change was the only way for an LGBT or SSA person to be saved.
Christians of any sexuality do not sin in sharing their testimonies — but if they proclaim their journey is the only way Jesus brings us to God, then they make themselves another savior.
My story is simply that — a story. I am not even the star of it.
Jesus Christ is the one who leads in my story. And He did not save me by changing me — He saved me by dying for me.
I will continue to share my story.
But please — do not use it for anything other than pointing to Christ.
And do not try to follow me. God has a path just for you. Follow Him in that.
How do you share your story — or others’ stories, for that matter? Do you see your story pointing to Jesus above all else?