All our words ought to be filled with true sweetness and grace; and this will be so if we mingle the useful with the sweet.
During the days spent together at the retreat house, we shared sweet words bringing life and hope along with nourishing food and delicious desserts. I have always loved hearing testimonies of how people came to saving faith in Jesus Christ, and I was delighted to get to hear some of those stories while we were together.
Most of these stories have others linked to them. Honestly, I’m not sure that I have ever personally heard someone share their testimony without the mention of someone else: people whose lives are a living example of the Gospel, which compels and invites others to want to know Christ and follow Him. It has been said that people will argue the interpretation of Scripture, but they can’t argue a testimony of a life changed. There is nothing more powerful than a miraculous story of a life redeemed! One that once was lost and broken now made well, found trusting and resting in the love of God.
As far back as I can remember, my heart was searching for God. I can still vividly recall standing outside of the confessional as a seven-year-old, afraid of the black closet where I would confess my sins for the very first time. I don’t recall what was worse, fear of entering in and closing the door behind me, or not knowing what to say. I was so confused. What were my sins? I stole a coin from my parent’s dresser. I fought with my sister. That sounds good. “Bless me Father, for I have sinned, I stole a coin from my parent’s dresser and fought with my sister.” His reply: “Go in peace, child, and sin no more.”
Sadly, peace was not to be found, and I sinned some more. Somewhere between entering the confessional as a little girl and before turning 21, just 13 short years later, I had gone from not knowing what to confess to having violated most of the Ten Commandments. I’m not exactly sure if I knew them in my head, but my heart knew them, and it condemned me. As it should. I was a wayward, wretched soul.
My life was like Paul describes in the gospels — I was the worst of sinners. I was desperate to be free of the chains that had bound me for so long. I needed forgiveness. I needed to forgive myself. I needed Father God to say, Go in peace, child; you are forgiven. And in the future, when you sin some more, the blood of my precious Son, Jesus, will cover those sins.
My own story has been useful in helping others along the way. It took me a number of years to open up about it, but once I did, I saw fruit come from being courageous enough to share my testimony with others burdened by the weight of sin. When you can say to someone that they can share their deepest hurts, sin and regrets – because you probably are familiar with it – the walls come toppling down. Bricks crumble.
The sweet words of telling someone you know Jesus loves them ... mingled with the useful words “I once was lost, but now I’m found” ... sprinkled with stories of your own transgressions against God ... can be used powerfully by God if you are willing.
Ruby Buckle’s mission is to share fervent FAITH, heartfelt HOPE, and the lavish LOVE of God with others! We tell our stories to each other so that we can go forward in the world in peace.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.