There are good stories about life and others and there are bad. I find two keys in my life that determine the fundamental difference. First, the closer to the stories are to my life the more likely they are to be good. Third or fourth-hand stories are far more likely to be gossip (bad stories) than ones that are first hand. The greater the distance the story is from factual experience the higher the probability that I do not have the facts. The less facts I have increases the probability that reason for sharing the story is to take the listener to a conclusion based on my words alone.
Second, stories often pivot on the reason the storyteller has for sharing the story. When the intent is to share part of life's journey, or to illustrate a point, then it is highly likely that one is not gossiping. There is a fine line between illustration and manipulation, often the break between good and bad, honorable and evil. Great storytellers always leave freedom with the listener.
I love great stories. I enjoy listening to them. When I hear that “as soon as Peter and John were let go, they went to their friends and told them what the high priests and religious leaders had said”, (Acts 4.23) I find myself wanting to hear the rest of the story. Having listened to great storytellers only makes my thirst for more grow greater! It is an incredible experience to let the imagination fill in the blanks as great stories unfold.
Today I will tell a story. I am hopeful that it will be a good one! I will walk and be in relationships. I will tell others of my journey. I will share it with individuals along the way. The content that others hear will tell of my values, priorities, and even of my God. I will strive to tell a good story, filled with first hand experiences and a willingness to listen to others. God willing, it will unfold that way in the lives of those that hear.
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