My husband and I struck up a conversation with a cook on a recent date night. We are the kind of people who would prefer to sit at the bar right in front of the kitchen rather than a secluded table in the back on a date. We like to see the food being prepared. I can get all caught up in the craziness of a busy kitchen on any given night. And without fail, we always strike up a conversation with one of the diligent workers nearby.
On this particular night, the man directly in front of us caught our attention as he worked. He was meticulous in all of his tasks. We began to notice the dishes that he was responsible for, and although he was making a lot of the same thing over and over again, he paid attention to every detail of every dish, as if each one needed to be perfect.
Making Bad Choices
We began talking to him. We learned that his name is Corey and that he is in the process of getting his life back together. He didn’t go into much detail, but he did share that he had been sober for two and a half years. We congratulated him, and then he told us that he was trying to do better, but that he has made a lot of bad choices in his life. Without skipping a single beat, my husband nodded his head and said, “Us, too.”
I smiled because I agree with my husband. We have both made a lot of bad choices in this life because we’re human, and it’s what we do best. We keep choosing our own desires and needs and wants over the things that we know God wants for us. The apostle Paul understood this, and he put it this way: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do … For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:15, 18-19).
As believers, we are so grateful to have the Holy Spirit living in us! He guides us, directs us, counsels us, and helps us to make choices that honor God. But we must all admit that we’re still broken people. I have no idea what choices this man at the restaurant made in his past, and I have no idea what he was trying to put back together in his broken life. But I do know this: we are no different than him.
Our Sin and Our Stories
There’s no need for us to attempt to compare our bad choices because that’s not how the gospel works. Romans 3:23 says, “… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God …” All of us have sinned. All of us have fallen short of God’s glory. And all of us are in need of saving. When my husband said, “Us, too,” to Corey, he was affirming that we, too, have stories. We, too, have baggage. We, too, have things we’ve had to put back together with the help of the Lord. We, too, are in need of so much love, grace, and mercy.
We encouraged Corey that night in his work and in his journey toward becoming better. We didn’t share the gospel with him (yet! We’ll be back—that food was too good!), but we did let him know that we, too, need help. Sharing our stories is so important, because they shine a light on the work that Jesus has done for us and in us. I’m convinced that we need a bit more “Us, too” in our conversations with others. Walls will come down, questions will be easier to ask, and we’ll get to show the transformation from death to life through our stories of “Us, too.”
It’s as Psalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story…”
Want to read more from Jamie Ivey? Check out some of her other LifeWay Voices post.