Evangelism as the Bad Story


One of the most compelling ways to witness or evangelize to someone is when you share a common bad story. When I say bad story I mean a personal story of your life that was negative and deeply affected you. You are a human being, we all go through difficult times. It is when Jesus redeems you in the midst of your difficult times that there is an opportunity to impact others with your story. Let me share a personal bad story so that you might begin to identify a few of your own bad stories.

I was recently in an environment where I was consistently belittled, disrespected, and torn down for my faith and beliefs. It escalated to the point where people were actively trying to silence my voice, faith, beliefs, and very self because it was viewed by these select individuals as ‘troubling’, ‘outside their beliefs’, and they could not understand me or what I stood for. It was an active persecution of my faith and religious rights. Now this happened only for a season. But at the end I was singing and praising my way through each day. I was always seen clutching my security blanket, a cup of coffee. I would also frequently run away from the hostile glares, derogatory remarks, and undercurrents felt. I stood bravely, but I barely stood. Yet my redemption is that I stood through the strength and power of Jesus Christ.

Now each of us has a similar story. Perhaps it is about religious beliefs, race or skin color, gender, relationship status, economic standing, a mistake made, obsession, misunderstanding, or abuse. It might even be that at one point we were clearly in the wrong, but another person’s response wounded us. These are all bad stories and we each have them. The story when God is involved becomes a story of redemption. It is the story of Jesus at work in our lives in the midst of a fallen and sinful world. It is the story of how we survived with the help of Jesus. This is our testimony.

When we encounter a person who has a similar bad story or is currently living through an event like we have, we have common ground to share Jesus. The story of our brokenness, our anguish, despair, and rejection lays the groundwork for the story of how Jesus rebuilt us, lifted us out, changed us, and how we overcame. It is the story of Jesus living in and through us. It is our story and people need to hear each and every bad story. Sometimes only in our brokenness can someone see the light of Jesus. This is an opportunity for them to find Jesus and become redeemed as well. It is a time for them to overcome and create a new story for their own lives. Yes something bad did occur in their lives but their story can continue on. We want them to continue on with the knowledge of who Jesus is because we know how valuable it is and what it means to have the help of Jesus.

My words might have spoken to you. This is just one way for you to witness to others. It requires dedication, vulnerability, and your own personal story. It can be done in a one on one setting, in a group, or even from a stage. The important part for you right now is to determine if it is worth sharing your bad story to help another? I view this type of evangelism like this picture: Imagine you are walking along a road. You see a person bloody, on the ground, and barely conscious. Do you help them or walk on? You help them. People are in pain because of their bad stories and need to have their wounds bound, to regain their strength, and they need help to get well. Sharing your bad story can heal the wounds, give them hope, and help them receive a new perspective. They need to see Jesus. Will you help them?

Luke 10:25-37 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”


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