There is something inherently less powerful when the witness is second hand. Whoever is relating the words, colors, and textures is handicapped. It is impossible to convey the same level of detail and conviction as a first hand witness can. Yet acknowledging the distance of one's witness, allows a truthful clarity to empower the present conversation.
A friend recently lost the plot in an intense conversation. Words were said from the depth of his heart. They were, by all accounts, passionate, blunt, and extremely candid. The room was filled with individuals that were not ready for this kind of response. It is a good think that I was not present. I too would have lost control of my emotions and responded as he did. The triggering events were painful, not accurate, and person to his firm and my own. My task, after the fact, was to retell the story and hold another accountable for actions of others under his influence.
I found myself struggling to convey the passion of the original event as I realized I had the wrong model. Telling a story second hand is never about reliving the passion of an event one was not involved in. It is about telling the story in a way that expresses you convictions and standing tall on that foundation.
The story should not end here. How do I tell the truth of my convictions even as I fail to achieve them? How can I witness to what I aspire even as I fall short? Is a shaped story the answer? Today you and I have the opportunity to tell our story and others. We can tell it with a candidness of what is our own and what is not. We can let Truth stand and defend itself. We can tell of our convictions through our actions and choices.
“For David himself did not ascend to heaven, but he did say, 'God said to my Master, 'sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a stool for resting your feet.''” (Acts 2.33, 34)
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