TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
1 Peter 3:18
There is always another side of the story. I have always heard that there are three ways a story is told. One way is the first person's perspective. The second way is the other person's perspective. And the third story is a mixture of the two which probably is more than likely the truth. We all see things through different lens and sometimes we ask ourselves how in the world can anyone ever see it a different way. We get so locked in on the battle to be right that we fail to see what God is trying to do through and around us all together. There is always another side to the story. I mean if we just take a moment and look at our lives individually. Hopefully we are not the same person we were 10 years ago. There is so much that has changed about us. Physical changes-older, taller, shorter, heavier, thinner, stronger, weaker. Mental changes- we are wiser in our knowledge of things, more capable problem solvers, see things from different perspectives from 10 years ago. Spiritual changes- Some people are more skeptical, more dependent, some are digging deeper in the Word and others may have even walked away all together from the Church, religion or any belief that God even exists. When we see someone it is not right to assume who they are and what they believe because the world has definitely caused us all to lose trust because of the hurt we have all, at one time or another, experienced.
Let me give you an example. When I was in college, our college ministry in Statesboro had the chance to connect through the Georgia-Germany partnership with a church in old East Germany called Weimar. It was a beautiful city that was filled with music and culture that none of us had ever seen in the states. When we drove up in our chartered bus, you would have thought we were Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift....etc. There were crowds of people who left school and their jobs to come and see the "Americans" that had come to town. They were so enamored and believed that every person that lived in the USA were just like what they saw in movies and soap operas. It blew my mind. They had already pre-determined that we were famous just because we came from America. As you can guess the
enamor wore off when we finally got to meet them and build relationships. They begin to see that we were approachable and that we were not living the lifestyles of the rich and famous. We were just like them with families, school and every day struggles. When they finally realized that we were average people, their minds were blown because all they had ever seen of America was from what the government allowed them to see. The were able to see that we were not self-absorbed in ourselves, but wanted to truly connect with them on a deeper level. When they were able to see why we were really there, some turned away and never came back. Others stepped in and wanted to know more about the REAL AMERICANS, and finally the third group continued to watch us from a distance because they had not yet built trust enough to be vulnerable and welcome us in to their lives.
How does that fit into our lesson for today. Simply, every one of us have two sides to who we are. One side that we let the world see and one side that only we and God knows. And Yes, God knows that side of our story already. We see this again in Peter's letter to the Church that had been scattered and were desperately trying to find identity and connection. Peter is telling them that suffering is one side of the Gospel story. As Christ suffered, so will we in this world. We will not be seen for who were are but by the labels that have been given to us from the world. We will not be seen as one that has been saved or redeemed in Christ. We are seen through the guilt and sin found in the world. Until we are able to build a true relationship, people will define us from our past or by only what they have heard or seen-similar to the example of us going to Germany. Until they heard our heart and our story, they had already pictured in their minds who we were by the standards of the world. Peter continues to challenge us to look at both sides of the story. Our old life where we were living in our fallen state and a new life where we are made whole through the sacrifice of Christ. As I have mentioned earlier this week, what would the world look like if Barnabas would have not poured into Saul/Paul? What would the world be like for the person who loved and mentored Billy Graham never gave him the time of day? Thank God for the people that had prophetic perspective and saw people through the eyes of God's grace and mercy.
I know that I am a product of that grace. I know that growing up I would easily find myself jumping on both sides of the moral fence based on how it would benefit me. BUT, someone looked past my sins and discretions and saw the other story. A story where Jesus had come into my life at a young age. One where I was not junk and was just in need of refining. I am thankful for the people who saw in me the other side of the story and did not give up on me. They could have easily thrown in the towel, but they didn't because of the love of God that
was living in them. So I am asking you to do the same. The people that are in your life that give you the most angst. The people in your life that you battle with the most. The people that you may see that are completely in self-destruct mode. I am asking for you to look and see the other side of the story. I am asking that you pray for God to reveal TRUTH and LOVE into their lives. I am asking that you look at them for the CREATION OF GOD that they truly are and pray for you or someone else to have the ability to step into their lives and open their eyes to see and grasp God's calling for them. Christ suffered for us to give us an example of how we will suffer to reach others for the kingdom. The struggle is worth it in the end, because once it is over, there is a bond that can never be broken between you, them and God. Remember there are three parts to the story... Yours.... Theirs... and the TRUTH, God's part of the story. Try today to see the treasure that may be hidden by the scars but can be revealed through the blood of Christ.