Before & After

artmuseum

One of the leaders at church asked me, “How would you feel about having your picture on a wall at church?” That guy cracks me up. I couldn’t help but chuckle. Turned out he wasn’t kidding.

They are doing a mosaic, of sorts; a collection of photos and quotes hung on a wall in the church lobby. I was flooded with pride.

ready-for-my-close-up

Then he showed me the quote they want to use; something I said when describing my baptism experience:

I stood before the entire church and said that I was a criminal and that I had ruined people’s lives. I was sure they were going to kick me out of the church. Someone was going to say, “We can’t have this guy in here.” But after the service, a woman came up to me and said, “Someone hurt me the same way a long time ago. And your story gives me hope [that they will be saved].”

I walked out of there thinking, “What kind of church is this?”

Hmm… that’s not exactly what I had in mind.

Despite the self-incriminating statement (pardon the pun), I said it was fine. Because…

It’s not my story. It isn’t about me. It never was.


Lest we judge the criminals harshly, perhaps we should carefully ponder the possibility that we are all criminals. Ever roll through a stop sign? Drive over the speed limit? Take something that didn’t belong to you, maybe a stapler from the office?  Romans 3:23 says we’ve all missed the mark.

All of us who have met Jesus have two lives: a before and an after. We used to be lost, blind, rebellious ragamuffins before. But after… well that’s something quite beautiful, isn’t it? No one is the same after a personal encounter with the living God.

Even if they put my photo and quote on the wall, it isn’t my story. It is a very small part of God’s story. The transformation is another demonstration of His incredible grace, mercy, redemption, and love. God has done it time again for the entirety of creation.

I like to imagine there’s a wall in heaven on which a picture of each saint is hung; bazillions of ’em. Each one a testament of God’s grace and the power of redemption.

I am not a missionary, an evangelist, a preacher, or much of a witness. I don’t have a loud voice, a commanding presence, or eloquent speech. What I do have is a tale of what God has done in my life. If you’ve met Jesus, you have one too.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.Proverbs 11:2

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s