Several months ago I joined some people from our church and another local church in a silent march for life. I’ve never, ever participated in an event like that before. Honestly, it took some courage for me to do it. There’s a big part of me that feels like a hypocrite when I think about events like that.
I have to believe that Paul, who committed acts of utter treachery against those who followed and believed in Jesus and then later became an evangelist for Jesus, at some point really thought himself a hypocrite. He does write a little about his past, and does acknowledge himself as the least worthy, but what I really like about Paul is that he doesn’t make it the focal point of his testimony. He uses not what he did, but what he became as the leverage behind his words. He never says “I know what you are feeling because I’ve been there”, but rather, “I know what you can be because I became that.” There is a distinct elevation in his life from what and who he was before meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus to who he became when Jesus transformed him. He went from being arrogant and self-serving to being humble and tortured. And yet he, more than any other leader in his time, had influence and respect…and he still does today.
It’s intriguing to me that he didn’t use the line, “Look at me! Look how bad I was, and how good I am now! Jesus did this!” That arrogance was removed from him. I believe that he was not capable of bringing that kind of self-centered testimony to the people. When a person speaks of themselves in that way, it really takes the focus from Jesus.
Standing on a sidewalk along a busy street holding a sign saying abortion is wrong humbled me greatly. No one reading that sign knew my past, or how I got to that sidewalk with that sign. But it didn’t matter. For that event, I was shown exactly what it was like to be like Paul; to speak out for Christ, knowing what I know in my head but not making it the focal point of my message. The message stood on it’s own. Abortion is wrong. My experience led me to that moment, but Christ allowed me to speak to the hearts of others without me clouding the issue.