It’s a speaker’s nightmare. The person in front of you has a better story than yours. I was toast.
A couple years before I converted to Catholicism, I was preparing to leave for the mission field in Mexico. Like so many before me, I made the rounds to several churches in the hopes of gathering some financial support. I’ve generally experienced success when a mic is put in my hand (karaoke excluded), but this time I was in trouble.
As luck would have it, there were two people speaking to this Protestant audience that Sunday. I was second.
I am/was a very clean cut pastor’s kid. That made me somewhat of an anomaly. “PK’s”, as we’re called, are a notoriously rowdy bunch. Since dad and mom are normally doing tandem duty for the church at all hours, the kids often become rebellious. (They’re a great argument for a celibate priesthood.) So I was pretty confident my status as a “good” pastor’s kid was a good, interesting angle. At least, that’s what I thought until I heard the first guys’ opening line – “I was a bank robber.”
Suddenly I didn’t seem so unique. My story was banal. Who would support me when this guy had been so bad and come back to God? Why hadn’t I set fire to something? Why hadn’t I at least broken into my school, or heisted a gum ball machine? I should’ve sinned more!!!
It was ludicrous. I actually wanted to have been worse than I already am. (Anyone who knows me can tell you that I’ve got quite a few warts. I’m not perfect. (Gasp!) I know, right?)
My point in this story is that all too often we glorify sin. How often do we love to reminisce about how bad we were, as if it were cool. “I did this….I did that.” That’s not only dangerous. It’s sinful itself.
Sin is ugly. It’s awful. It’s an affront against the good and loving God who constantly puts all of his energy into saving us from it. To glory in our unseemly past is to diminish our glorious future. So let’s all try to turn away from the evil we’ve done and focus on what is holy.
As St. Paul says, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil 4:8).
P.S. Don’t forget to grab a FREE copy of my talk Writing Straight With Crooked Lines: How God Saves You Even When You’ve Been Really Bad. Just enter your name and email in the box at the top of the page.
“Now I think I’m going down to the well tonight and I’m going to drink till I get my fill
And I hope when I get old I don’t sit around thinking about it, but I probably will
Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture a little of the glory of,
well time slips away and leaves you with nothing mister but boring stories of glory days”
Bruce Springsteen-Glory Days
The darker side of Springsteen was the first thing that brought this article to my attention.
I wondered what direction this article was headed.
I really enjoyed the article because it didn’t deal with the teaser post on FB, but more so on the “Glory Days” of sin.
I think to revel in the memory of the sinful acts that helped change and shape you is indeed wrong.
I feel like taking the scope of the consequences that sinful act may have wrought upon us and altered our lives and personality as a guide and applying it to the proper steps we take daily to walk with God may be a better way to remember the “Glory days”!
I am and English lady living in Germany, very much spiritually isolated. I just ‘discovered’ you, and am trying to learn so much. I love listening to you, and hope your wonderful cheery disposition will rub off on me!
I would love a copy of your talk ” Writing Straight With Crooked Lines: How God Saves You Even When You’ve Been Really Bad.”.
Hi, Barbara!. Just sent you an email. Let me know if you didn’t get it. God bless!