The Scandal of My Boring Conversion Story

Who doesn’t love a scandalous conversion story? Truth is, most of us do! The provocative and sensational details feed our attention. We’re captivated by details of the ugliest sins redeemed by Christ’s most beautiful grace. And rightly so. In the words of the courageous Corrie ten Boom, “there is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.” No sin, no hideous, repulsive, offensive act, that his blood cannot cover. Carved in the wood of his cross was every kind of sin. But his blood soaked into every crevice and splinter still!

The details of my conversion story are anything but sensational, I keep telling myself. I was no terrorist, like Saul, no adulterer, like the Samaritan woman, no drug addict. Just a plain ol’ miss self-righteous, trusting in self, and believing I was too good for the world at times. I believed I could help myself with some hard work and some luck. My works defined me, I was therefore a moralist. My works made me feel good about myself, I was a therapeutic moralist. I was a “Be the best, do the best and you will feel great about yourself and the world!” kind of gal. My moralism kept me out of jail, out of abortion clinics, out of courts, bars and much trouble. What I couldn’t see about my then life philosophy was that it was actually a vain cycle of starving me for more of my good self (since I was never good enough or perfect, I aimed at being perfect while trying harder) while feeding me with more of me (since my life cycle rested on my own self-centered achievements). I was my own prisoner, in my own jail of limits and failures.

What do the pre-conversion Saul, the Samaritan woman, and a therapeutic moralist like myself have in common? Though different in nature, our gospels were the same in essence: they were all gospels of self – based on works of the law & traditions, sex & relationships, performance & achievements. The apostle Paul refers to this different gospel in his letter to the Galatians as he describes it as a false gospel, a distortion of the gospel of Christ (Gal. 1: 8). We were blinded by false pursuits until God shone into our hearts his light of the knowledge of the his glory in the face of his precious son, Jesus Christ, the servant who humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross ( 2 Cor. 4:4; Phil. 2:8).

Could it be that I am so enamored with having the right, shocking details of a conversion story tickle the ears of men that I am missing the face of the true scandal of it all? Could it be that by deeming the details of my story boring I am cheapening the grace of Christ in my life? Could it be that I’ve allowed the same old different gospel to creep under my skin? A system of theology that magnifies man and his sinful details, this false gospel was birthed by none other than the demonic masked angel of light, plotting to distract us from our very devotion to Christ. Like his very forked tongue, the serpent schemes to divide our thoughts of adoration between Christ and self.

The truth is, there has never been anything more scandalous–the ugliest sins, the most repulsive stories–than the very odious details of a hideous torture of the holiest man on Earth, Jesus the Christ, the face of God. The greatest conversion story is the one that shares in the details of the scandalous grace of Christ, the redeemer. My testimony as a moralist saved by grace is just as scandalous as that of a former terrorist or adulterer not because of details, but because of the scandalous blood of the perfect Lamb who covered them all. It is by God’s grace alone that we have become his children. The magnitude of God’s grace has been telescoped unto us by Jesus on the cross. People’s testimonies are but megaphones of God’s amazing grace, streamed to the ends of the earth. Take heart, my soul! My story’s details aren’t meant to make my life newsworthy but rather to show that his story is life changing. No detail is so “good” that Jesus didn’t have to die for it! No story is so boring that his brow didn’t sweat blood for it in Gethsemane.

The next time I’m tempted to want different conversion details, may I remember that Jesus’ choice of his death covers all the stories just the same. Next time I’m tempted to shy away from sharing my “boring” testimony, may I remember that Christ’s bloody sacrifice and torture for my sins was anything but tedious. And next time I covet someone else’s story of conversion, may I remember that the only story worthy of desiring is that of my beloved Savior who died so I can have life–and life in full!