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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)

TITLE: The Testimony of a Broken Believer
By Alan Zimmerman


There is a perception among Christians that their brothers and sisters in Christ lead lives that involve fewer difficulties, problems, and lapses in both faith and judgment than they have. We unreasonably want to believe that good Christians “have it all together” and there is a natural tendency for us to feel like we are somehow of a lower stature. The diagnosis of this perceptual disease is related to the distance, both physically and emotionally, we keep from our Christian counterparts. The miracle cure is astoundingly simple. Put yourself in situations where you can share the challenges of your faith walk with others. There is nothing more encouraging for struggling Christians than the testimony of a broken believer.

Imagine being in a church service where an upstanding couple tells of problems early in their marriage. While the husband tells of his arrogance and ego problems, the wife shares how she once hated her husband and turned inward and away from him. This is a moving story, but even more so when it’s the pastor and his wife who are speaking! The impact is earthshaking. These are the people who we hold in the highest regard and they have had, and overcome, more troublesome issues than we have. Or think about a man who reaches out to his Christian brothers because internet pornography is ruining his marriage. The embarrassment of his confession is softened by the admission from other men who have had, or are having, the identical problem. And consider a woman whose family stress has turned her away from God and into a functioning alcoholic. The comfort and encouragement she receives from hearing the stories of addiction and redemption from other Christians is incredible.

The solution for us is found with those who are right in our midst. When we share our stories and hear those of others, whether in church, in a small group, or over a Starbucks latte, the knowledge that we are not alone in our troubles, disappointments, and challenges can bring great relief to us. While it is humbling to publicly acknowledge your difficulties, it is equally uplifting to know that others have been where you are and that there is Light at the end of the tunnel for those who persevere.

As we pierce the unblemished facades of those around us, we soon realize that a vital congregation of Christians isn’t a collection of halos, or a gathering place of good people. Instead, it is a house built on the foundation of the brokenness of the believers who inhabit it. That is the reality that is hiding below the surface, beneath the well-groomed image of Christianity.

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This article has been read 461 times
Member Comments
Member Date
kelechi Ulunma11/16/07
Your point of view is great,small wonder Jesus told us to confess our sins one to another so that we will be healed.
Yvette Nietzen11/16/07
I enjoyed your "collection of halo's."

It is encouraging to be real and to share our failures with others, to uplift and encourage them. That is what the Body of Christ is about.
Seema Bagai 11/19/07
I wonder how much less emotional suffering there would be if all Christians would lead more transparent lives.

This is a well-written piece. Good work.