Jesus sent the demoniac back to his community to share his story, and there’s a lesson here for us.
There are so many kingdom benefits to sharing what God has done in you.
And one of those benefits is your freedom. When you share your story, it gives you opportunity for deeper healing and freedom in your life.
A couple of years ago, I was on the Sea of Galilee looking over to the area of the Gerasenes. It’s here that a man full of turmoil was set free.
If you know the story, it’s not hard to feel sorry for this man (Mark 5:5–20). This guy spent years isolated from family, hated and feared by his community. He’s been chained up like an animal, running around naked, without a shred of dignity.
His emotions are so violent and raw. His mind is so disturbed that his life is utterly senseless. He despairingly cuts himself with stones in order to feel more human.
Then along comes Jesus. At Jesus’ word, the evil spirit tormenting this man flees, and he is restored to his right mind. After all of this, the unnamed man only has one request:
“Jesus, can I go with you?”
Surprisingly, Jesus says, “No.”
Instead, Jesus sends this man back to his community. This doesn’t seem like much. But to know the back story of what his condition has done to him, this is a challenging idea. No one had ever shown this man love. If he had family, they had long since abandoned him.
Jesus isn’t heartless. He’s not trying to teach the demoniac a lesson about figuring out life for himself. Jesus sends this man away as a gift. Sharing his story will help him experience love and acceptance and will end in him finding community.
Sharing your story to help others is a noble goal, but the truth is: The blessing of sharing your story starts with you.
In an age of distraction, few of us take enough time to reflect on the journey we have traveled, to survey where we are and to forecast the road ahead. The story of our lives is a process that takes months and years to unfold.
As you explore your story, you will almost certainly stir up emotions, memories and patterns of thought and behavior you thought you’d overcome. You may notice lies or unbelief. You may recognize promises that have yet to be fulfilled. You might think, “I have so far to go!”
This process doesn’t have to be discouraging. If you lean into it, sharing your story will deepen your understanding of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness. You may also see new ways to renew your mind and open up new areas for healing and hope (Romans 12:3–4).
Why do this? Because even after we have surrendered our lives to Jesus, we can unintentionally hang on to labels or identities that are not ours as children of God. Your continuing awareness of God working in your life makes it easier to let go of the false story that defined—or is defining—you.
Sometimes, the unique experience of sharing your story is the only way to achieve progress. The process of sharing tests our conviction and forces us beyond our comfort zone. Stepping out to share deepens our need for God’s strength.
Many people are deterred from sharing their story because they see it as “unfinished.” Struggles will continue. We can fail. Temptations can get the best of us. The only certain resolution to our stories is that our need for God’s grace will never end.
Most importantly, the act of telling our stories helps connect us with others. It gives us a relatable avenue by which we can empathize and understand others. And allowing others to see into the deepest part of our lives can bring freedom, support and encouragement.
The demoniac in Mark 5 probably felt strange from time to time trying to live and work in his community as a new person, even though everyone knew his past. But his mere presence in the town was a daily reminder of the power of Jesus—to him and everyone else—and an everyday opportunity to live toward a future hope.
Don’t be discouraged by the areas of your life where you haven’t “arrived.” Be encouraged by how far Jesus has brought you. And the more you share about what God has done, the more you see how you can grow. Sharing helps you find freedom.
This article was originally posted on Dave’s blog.